Opinion

2020 Primary Socialist Scorecard (Part 1)

12 min read

Below is part 1 of our 2020 Primary Election Socialist Scorecard. We’ll rate the candidates on how socialist their policies are and hopefully provide some useful insight for socialists across the state. Let us know if you have any feedback or if we forgot someone who you think we should include.

Note: This part includes federal and state offices. You can find legislative races in part 2.

Federal

CD 2

Jason Call
Democrat, DSA Member
Score: C
TL;DR: Not a socialist, but was a Bernie supporter; isn’t Rick Larsen

Jason Call has a temper, at least that’s what Democrats in his district want you to think. The party he chose to align himself with (even though he saw what they did to Bernie Sanders) launched a smear campaign against him. His big, scary, problematic crime? Tearing down a confederate flag. Jason claims to be a socialist, but supports some very un-socialist policies, such as banning “assault rifles,” a policy which is historically used to prevent marginalized people, such as women and people of color, from defending themselves. Luckily, he supports ending wars, Medicare for All, and big economic and workplace reforms. His major opponent, Rick Larsen, is known for voting for the Iraq War and spending his free time cashing checks written by military contractors, big pharma, and Wall Street bankers.

CD 4

Douglas E. McKinley
Democrat
Score: D
TL;DR: Not a socialist; running with “people first” as his campaign slogan

Douglas correctly states that social welfare isn’t socialism in his campaign materials. Like FDR, he is appealing to the precarious nature of workers in this economic crisis with some good old pro-working-class populism in order to avoid the conditions for a worker revolt. He talks about making health care untethered from your job, keeping families together, and transitioning to “clean energy.” His ideas are typical middle-of-the-road Democrat stuff, and while he isn’t directly identifying capitalism as the source of our issues, he is definitely a solid candidate for improvements to the material conditions of the working class in Trump country.

CD 6

Rebecca Parson
Democrat, DSA Member
Score: C
TL;DR: Not a socialist, but has ideas for some pretty good social welfare programs!

Rebecca seems alright for a Democrat, but definitely isn’t a socialist. She’s said some strange things, like that she’s a “working-class business owner,” but we won’t hold that against her, since her business may just be a sole proprietorship with no employees. Parson would be a huge improvement over Democrat incumbent Derek Kilmer, who recently voted to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act. For example, she supports Medicare for All, housing as a human right, free public college, and many other standard social democracy issues. However, she wants to ban “assault weapons,” supports “renewable energy” (including fracked gas) instead of ditching fossil fuels, only supports a very out-of-date $15 per hour minimum wage, and most importantly, doesn’t believe in dismantling capitalism.

CD 7

Jack Huges-Hageman
Democrat, “Progressive Bull Moose”
Score: F
TL;DR: Three mutton chops, seventeen neoliberal technocratic ideas that won’t address capitalist problems

We admit, he had us at first. His campaign statement said corporations have too much influence on the government… yes! Then he said we need to ensure every American can purchase health care and we need to increase competition in the market by relaxing regulations… what?? No! Even incumbent Democrat Pramila Jayapal supports Medicare for All. Jack wants to fix immigration by requiring “biometric green cards.” What? He suggests addressing militarized policing by buying private guns back, huh? He wants to increase military spending to prepare us for “futuristic warfare” and deploy troops to social media. WTF? Lots of talk of markets and trade and technocratic solutions to our problems. The only solid plan we could find on his campaign website was free breakfast and lunch in public schools. Jack seems like a nice enough guy, but Jayapal is going to win in a landslide, and that’s probably a good thing.

CD 9

Adam Smith (incumbent)
Democrat
Score: F
TL;DR: This pro-war CIA spook keeps getting re-elected, why?

In 2020, there is no left challenger to Adam Smith. Why is this? This guy would be easy to beat in an election if only someone had the backing to do it. The 9th district is a “majority minority” district, which means most people who live there are non-white. Yet for some reason they keep sending this pale, pro-war, anti-worker, absentee congressman back to DC. Adam Smith is famous for missing nearly a year of work, and then voting to NOT ban cluster bomb sales to Saudi Arabia (even after it was known that they were dropping them on civilians in Yemen). The vote came right after he received a campaign contribution from Textron, the manufacturer of the bombs. He hasn’t really changed much since. Republican challenger Doug Basler seems to only have a beef with which military contractors Smith takes bribes from. What is going on? Workers in CD 9: you have two years to figure this out in time for 2022.

CD 10

Joshua Collins
Formerly Democrat, Currently “Essential Workers Party,” DSA Member

Score: C
TL;DR: Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone wins an election

Collins changed parties last-minute to a made-up “essential workers party,” and while he has some good ideas (like abolishing the CIA), and some wacky ideas (like “banning homework” and giving all of our guns away to the government), he changes them frequently because—as he honestly admits—he’s just starting to learn about socialist theory, and most of his platform is written by random people on his Discord chat.

We have concerns with a few things, like how his campaign seemingly blew through hundreds of thousands of dollars (most paid to “staff,” including his own wife), and how he went from being a serious contender and front-runner to a message campaign nearly overnight. Also, Joshua suddenly deleted all of his campaign social media accounts, only to return the next day and bizarrely claim he just needed a break. This is not the kind of stuff voters are looking for in candidates for federal office (especially candidates who are running an entirely online campaign). Fortunately for Joshua, his biggest opponent is worse, so we offer critical support. Someone get this guy an audiobook copy of Capital!

Beth Doglio
Democrat, last-second establishment challenger to Joshua Collins
Score: F
TL;DR: Pretends to care about workers and the environment, but is just a female Denny Heck

Beth Doglio is your typical neoliberal cosplaying as a “progressive,” which just goes to show the label is meaningless. Beth claims to be all about the environment, and she often says it’s her top issue. Unfortunately, when she’s not a paid panelist at pro-fracking conferences, she’s voting for developer bailout bills which place more regressive taxes on the backs of working-class families while promoting housing that negatively impacts the environment and directly contributes to gentrification. She was accepting campaign contributions directly from fossil fuel companies until this year, when she refunded their contributions shortly before signing the “no fossil fuel pledge.” So basically she’s saying “no fossil fuel money now that I’ve already conveniently used it to get elected.” What if she changes her mind again? No thanks, Beth. Her campaign used some sleazy tactics in an attempt to sabotage Joshua Collins, so she’ll probably fit right in with her Democrat friends in DC.

State

Governor

Henry Clay Dennison
Socialist Workers Party
Score: A+
TL;DR The only other socialist on the ballot!

SMART-TD transportation union member, railroad worker, and Socialist Workers Party member, Henry Clay Dennison, is the only other socialist on the ballot aside from our own Jonny Meade. Dennison also has nearly two decades of experience as a coal miner in West Virginia and Alabama. There are at least 37 candidates running for Governor. Not only is Henry the only one we can easily vote for, he’s the only candidate who can truly deal with the current crisis: as a socialist and a worker, he’s already accomplished the first step of recognizing capitalism as the cause. Henry’s candidate statement makes his pro-worker ideas very clear, and we agree 100%!

Other candidates
Various parties
Score: F
TL;DR: Is there something lower than F?

Let’s run through a sampling of some of the other 35 candidates: Perennial candidate Goodspaceguy, who believes in abolishing the minimum wage and building a spaceport; Alex Tsimermann, known for getting banned from Seattle City Council meetings for his incoherent anti-communist rants in a heavy Russian accent (also known for trying to bury his mother “off the books” so he could continue to collect the social security check); Tim Eyman, who is basically running another electoral grift after killing transit funding and being found guilty of fraud, and was so broke last year he stole a $60 office chair; Martin L. “Iceman” Wheeler (probably no relation to Val Kilmer); Joshua Freed, who used his position as Mayor of Bothell to basically steal millions of dollars worth of land (which he will remind you was totally 100% legal) and spends his free time lying about his mental health credentials (he has none) while demonizing people with substance use issues.

Lt. Governor

All of the candidates running for this position are boring capitalists. We thought we’d just give an honorable mention to Denny Heck, who gave up his cushy CD 10 congressional seat to run for this… so it’s safe to assume the Democrats are putting their full weight behind him. The previous Lt. Governor is the son of the guy who cooks the books for the state Dems, and known for being the first blind Lt. Governor of Washington. Fortunately, Lt. Governor is basically a figurehead position, so it doesn’t really matter who wins. With 12 candidates on the ballot, it’ll be interesting to see who gets enough votes to move forward in 2nd place (with Denny Heck likely receiving 1st place).

Secretary of State

Gentry Lange
Progressive, former Green (currently elected as a Democratic Party PCO)
Score: B
TL;DR: Offers some insight into improving elections; reminds us that the SOS does more than elections and could be used to help workers

Mr. Lange admits up front he is a business owner and wants to use the Office of the Secretary of State to help small businesses. He also says he wants to “restore the secret ballot,” which may mean removing the party affiliation box from the presidential primary ballot. The current system sort of makes sense; you can only vote in one party’s primary. But we agree, there should be a solution to this strange inconsistency (the checkbox is on the outside of the ballot where your mail carrier can see it, which means your ballot is no longer really secret). His advocacy for expanded transparency in elections in addition to his suggestion of moving the SOS away from focusing on big business is a solid platform for such a boring office. While our current SOS, Republican Kim Wyman, has a pretty “OK” record, Lange’s proposal for a Worker Recovery Board is a great social democracy platform and worthy of critical support from socialists.

Treasurer

Mike Pellicciotti
Democrat
Score: C
TL;DR: A Democrat, but not corrupt, and not Trump-supporting incumbent Duane Davidson

While in the Attorney General’s office, Mike helped push for changes that helped shine a light on political finances in Washington, including forcing the state legislature to abide by the state’s public records laws for the first time in decades. Don’t get us wrong; he’s NOT a socialist by any means. But incumbent Duane Davidson, who bizarrely was endorsed by “progressive” FUSE Washington, is a vocal Trump supporter. Mike has spent his career going after corporations, and says he’ll “put working families first,” and that is a night and day difference with the incumbent.

State Auditor

No noteworthy candidates. The incumbent is an establishment Democrat, while her Democrat challenger is another establishment Democrat who claims to be more qualified because he has a CPA and worked with Deloitte, which recently experienced a pretty major financial corruption scandal. The Republican challenger is literally a cop who thinks he can use the office to cut spending on social programs.

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson
Democrat
Score: C
TL;DR: Not a socialist, but seems to be using his office to help working people (when he’s not trying to run for Governor)

The incumbent, Democrat Bob Ferguson, is doing a good enough job. While he is pretty obviously angling to run for Governor one day, his attacks on Trump seem good-intentioned (suing on behalf of immigrants, workers, and to protect the environment). Bob has spearheaded the effort to test the backlog of untested rape kits and pushed for tougher penalties against human trafficking. Also, Bob is doing a great job when it comes to holding big pharma responsible for the opiate epidemic. His opponents include the lawyer for initiative conman Tim Eyman, a cop, and a guy who wants to be a cop and thinks it’s the AG’s job to make the state “more business friendly” and arrest homeless people. Critical support for Bob.

Commissioner of Public Lands

Frank Wallbrown
Democrat, “Berniecrat”
Score: C
TL;DR: Says he cares about the environment, won’t sell our public lands to giant corporations

Frank’s candidate statement makes it very clear that while he may be a member of a capitalist party, he has a deep concern for the environment. He says he wants the state off of fossil fuels and to end clear cutting. Unfortunately that’s all we know because his website has no additional information.

Hilary Franz (incumbent)
Democrat
Score: D
TL;DR: Also says she cares about the environment, but doesn’t talk about much else

Hilary’s candidate statement echoes the same sentiment as Frank’s, except she has years in the job already and can reflect upon existing successes. For example, she refused to allow oil drilling in our state’s coastline. Hillary has the endorsement of the political establishment of both capitalist parties, which is always concerning.

This position is always a strange one. You’ll have candidates who claim to be more “progressive” but end up doing the exact same thing with our public land: leasing it out to the highest bidder as a “natural resource” to be commodified and used up.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Dennis Wick
Score: C
TL;DR: Only candidate who seems normal and concerned with equitable education

Dennis has a blog where he talks about the unintended consequences of COVID-19, and that districts don’t have solutions for this baked into their budget. He talks about using Zoom to bring in expert teachers from across the country so our students are receiving the best education: this is concerning because that could result in local teachers losing jobs. However, he also says he wants to eliminate “good schools” as a selling point from real estate ads, and that “all schools should be good schools.” He also has the best campaign slogan: “Pick Wick.”

Chris Reykdal
Score: C
TL;DR: He’s the incumbent, he represents the status quo, he’ll likely win

Chris has been in the job for 4 years now. He’s currently in charge of the COVID-19 response in our public schools. As a father of kids currently enrolled in public school, he’ll likely have a much more connected response. Currently, the SPI offices in Olympia are closed to the public while our governor is talking about reopening schools (at a time when the number of cases is at an all-time high). Hopefully, Chris sends a clear message that we can’t possibly safely reopen schools, and we need to start talking about how we’re going to meet our constitutional obligation to fund K-12 education in a completely remote fashion.

Maia Espinoza
Score: D
TL;DR: Only candidate to mention the working class; also wants to end sex ed

Maia seems deeply concerned with the current state of public education for lower-income and at-risk youth. She mentions outdated technology being ignored in low-income districts. She had us at first. Then she said on her website that she wants to end sex education in public schools. Yikes. That’s the hill you want to die on?

Other opponents in this race are (strangely) talking about gun rights and religion. One even states that he doesn’t think Coronavirus is a real thing. One guy is talking about building a hyperloop train and dark matter. Why are they running for this position? Nobody knows.

Insurance Commissioner

Mike Kreidler
Democrat
Score: B
TL;DR: Boring job nobody knows exists, but Mike could make it well-known…

Insurance Commissioner is one of those elected positions that seems extremely administrative and very low on policy. During the pandemic, it could be used to do a lot of good for working people. Mike Kreidler, the incumbent, has already used some of this power to ease the stress of the working people: he has lowered premium rates and reversed denials of health insurance claims. During the pandemic, he has made it illegal for insurance companies to cancel coverage, and mandated that insurers cover all COVID-19-related claims (including testing).

The commissioner has the authority to completely halt all premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Crazy, right? We think Mike Kreidler needs to use this power immediately to take the weight off the backs of millions of working people across our state. Conservative opponents are talking about doing the bidding of insurance companies. Critical support for Mike.


Note: The opinions on this page are for informational (and sometimes entertainment) purposes only, and are strictly the opinions of members of Puget Sound Socialist Party. These statements are made without the knowledge of candidates and campaigns and do not serve as an in-kind contribution or reflect the opinions and/or endorsement of the party as a whole.