Best Politician: Kshama Sawant

Seattle politics are so goddamn boring. With a few notable exceptions, our municipal elections amount to geriatric sausage-fests. The sausages in question are white. And they’re all, so to speak, members of the Democratic Party. It’s not because Kshama Sawant isn’t white, is a woman, or is on the unpickled side of 60 that we like her. That would make us superficial. We like her because she’s an honest-to-god socialist who’s willing to throw a few Molotov cocktails into the cloistered hatch-pits of our terribly staid civic “debates.” And after getting nearly 30 percent of the vote when she ran against state House Speaker Frank Chopp in last year’s election, she’s shown herself to be more than a gadfly. The Seattle Central Community College economics teacher channels a fist-raising leftist zeal that’s been all but extinguished in the United States. As she runs against Richard Conlin for city council, she is hoisting the banner for a $15-an-hour minimum wage—the wage demanded by the fast-food workers who walked out on the job in the spring, a strike that all Seattle’s Democratic leaders said they supported before hedging on whether they’d take any action as policy-makers to make that wage a reality. As Kshama says: “Both the Democrats and Republicans serve the interests of a tiny financial aristocracy.” Do we agree with her? Beside the point. It’s just nice to have a politician with some balls.

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