Shocking news: granola-munching, monorail-worshiping, gay-rights-preaching, church-shunning, flannel-wearing, book-devouring, vegan-dining, obsessively recycling, salmon-protecting, pinot noir-sniffing, latte-sipping, war-protesting, bluer-than-blue-voting Seattle is not America's brightest beacon of liberalism.
While I don't think many people around here worship the monorail (isn't it a civic embarassment that we don't have reliable public transportation beyond the bus lines?), this sentence sets up the author's intriguing discovery from a 2005 study of voting patterns: Seattle is only no. 16 on the list of liberal cities.
Of course, this study only counts who you vote for, which may or may not be a good indicator of liberalism. As I can attest from growing up where the llamas are many and the minorities are few, many Democrats outside the metro corridor are decidedly more conservative than the big-city, big-money Republicans of Bellevue. The same thing goes for the rest of the country. While it'd be a lot harder to measure, I think it'd be more helpful to know what sort of laws are on the books in these cities—is anyone more PC or more prone to a crippling bureaucracy (see the Viaduct)? I tend to find first person narratives of exploratory journalists (i.e., anecdotal evidence) far more convincing than these rankings. Then I read this:
Jason Alderman, a director of the Center for Voting Research, said even he was surprised by the rankings of Seattle and some other liberal cities.
Before the research began, he said, "I sort of guessed that Seattle and Berkeley and Cambridge (Mass., ranked eighth) and Madison would be at the very top of our list. It's the Birkenstock crowd, what you think of when you think of liberals.
"But what became very clear to us is that that is not the driver (of liberal voting). The list is dominated by cities that have strong and proud and long-standing African American populations," which vote overwhelmingly for liberal candidates.
"Certainly the liberal population in Seattle is very prominent; they dominate local politics," Alderman said. "But there is this smaller, much less vocal, conservative community, but they keep (their politics) to themselves. They don't march in the streets."
Damn right we don't. We wouldn't want to get our cowboy boots wet walking around for nothing when we have actual means of effecting political change... like blogging.