Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant thinks quite highly of herself. As a councilmember, Sawant has worked to change the name of a national holiday, offered her advice on foreign policy issues and, yesterday, delivered a response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address for the second time in a row.
Sawant kicked her response off by laying out what happened during the 2014 mid-term election, i.e. the Republican wave, and implying that it occurred because Obama isn’t far left enough. Under Obama, Sawant claims, the gap between the rich and poor has widened. Many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. She points to Socialists, particularly herself, as the answer to the nation’s economic problems. Sawant said of herself,
“We won the $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle… And critical for 15 in Seattle was the election of an independent, working class candidate who boldly championed it which forced the political and business establishment to reluctantly make a concession on this issue.
Sawant’s version of reality is quite different from, well, reality. As much as she would like to cast herself in the role of a bold leader fighting against the “political and business establishment,” the truth is that the $15 minimum wage met little to no resistance—least of all by the political establishment in Seattle. Mayor Ed Murray could not wait to sign a $15 minimum wage into law and the City Council raised no objection, unanimously passing the ordinance. That’s hardly forcing a reluctant political establishment to make concessions on the issue.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It wasn’t the establishment in Seattle that had to be forced to concede to a $15 minimum wage, it was the establishment that forcefully and hastily rammed through a $15 minimum wage. It was the political establishment in Seattle that refused to listen to the concerns of businesses and heartlessly sent small businesses to their inevitable ruin.
Sawant goes onto criticize Obama for increased cuts in federal funding for low-income housing. Again, Sawant presents herself as the solution to the problem. She claims that she just led a successful battle to prevent a 400% hike to low income housing in Seattle. Sawant then denounced the free market and called for new public investment for affordable housing.
Once again, the opposite of Sawant’s claim is true. Sawant does not have solutions to Seattle’s low-income housing market problems. She helps create the problems. Economists expect rent rates to rise as a consequence of the $15 minimum wage. Nonsensically, Sawant also supports a system to develop affordable housing that fits within her socialist political ideology but produces less than a quarter of affordable housing units than the market-friendly alternative.
Sawant wraps up her response with a swipe at the nation’s top 90 companies and Republicans. Sticking to the same talking points so often repeated by the far-left, Sawant claims that the 2014 elections did not hand Republicans a mandate. Rather, Democrats lost because they have not gone far left enough with their policies—presumably, people should look to socialists in the future.
If the 2014 Republican wave delivered one single mandate from the American people, it is “stop Obama.” The majority of the American people are not disillusioned with Obama because his policies don’t go far enough, they are disillusioned with Obama because they go too far and leave disastrous consequences. If it is the case that the American people want too see a president even further to the left of Obama, Democrat candidates across the country would not have scrambled to denounce liberal policies and moderate their positions. Sawant’s assessment of the 2014 election is evidence she lives in an alternate universe, if ever you needed any.