The Seattle Times posted an article on self-proclaimed socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant over the weekend. The rather lengthy piece considers her influence as a politician and features quotes from fellow councilmembers like Nick Licata who said:
“Without a doubt, Kshama has moved the council in a new direction… More progressive. More sensitive to social and economic justice. The other members are inclined to go there, but Kshama is pushing them. Kshama has made things happen that never would have happened before.”
The article states that Sawant’s influence depends on her “bully pulpit,” it’s where she is “most effective and where her star power is an asset.” She has a “militant image and know how to use it.” That means capitalizing—yes “capitalizing”—on her public image by writing a book about herself. According to the Seattle Times, the book was originally titled on Amazon under the title, “The Most Dangerous Woman in America.”
As talk radio host David Boze said, the overall theme of the piece is that Sawant “thinks she is more influential than she is.” The reality is that her fellow councilmembers are “we’re just as liberal.” Indeed, that’s what the Seattle Times article implies.
David Rolf, Service Employees International Union Local 775, told the Seattle Times that Sawant jumped on the union’s existing push for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. That’s how she defeated incumbent Richard Conlin. Rolf,
“She was the only candidate running with $15 an hour on her yard signs… Most of her signs said ‘Kshama Sawant — $15.’ We had to change the color of our fast-food strike signs from red to green so people didn’t think they were hers.”
Rolf does admit that Sawant was a “threat from the left” that injected some “urgency” into the ordinance passing in Seattle.
For his part, Conlin insisted that, if had been on the council, he would have supported the $15 minimum wage. He said, “The results that came out were basically what the folks at SEIU had been working for, and I was endorsed by SEIU. I don’t think she made much of a difference.”
“As I read this piece, what it really said to me is that the Seattle Democrats just don’t want to identify themselves as Socialists. You look through the story and the only objection to Sawant seems to be they don’t like her general approach, they don’t like her personality, they don’t like the presentation. But in terms of substance, they’re in total agreement…
It seems the influence of Sawant is that she may be pushing them faster than they would otherwise go, and also it seems she’s emboldening the left in the state who, compared to her, are worried about providing proof of their left-wing credentials.”