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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Re: Urban Archipelago

Posted by on November 15 at 11:40 AM

What Annie notices in today’s NYT story can also be read as validation of a strategy I proposed in The Stranger back in July. Back then, I said I-912, the measure to repeal this state’s gas tax, could be defeated through a “Western Strategy” that gave up on the anti-tax goons in Eastern Washington and instead focused on driving up turnout in Western Washington. Here’s what the NYT says today:

[1-912] was voted down by 53 percent to 47 percent, but a look at a map of how Washington residents voted is revealing.

Twenty-nine of Washington’s 39 counties voted [against I-912], many of them by margins of 20 or even 30 percentage points. The measure failed because the heavily populated, more liberal counties around Seattle and two college towns in eastern Washington voted against it.

Now, look at this map. Click on the counties, check out the vote totals by county. What it shows you is that even without those “two college towns in eastern Washington,” I-912 would have gone down, with the western half of the state beating the eastern half on this tax issue by about 130,000 votes.

So why are politicians in this state still so scared of the fabled “Eastern Washington vote”? The vote on I-912 proves that if you just get nine of the more urban Western Washington counties to vote their self-interest (i.e., liberal interests) you can beat back any bad ideas the eastern part of the state might have. The Western Strategy works.