Liberal Republican Suburbs Voting Democratic

Regardless of how the Democrats do next week if the Democrats are to build a majority coalition they are going to need to attract more votes from the suburbs. As long as Democrats remains susceptible to Republican claims that they are “tax and spend” liberals, or they represent only the poor against the interests of the middle class and business, the Democrats will remain a minority party. Fortunately the Republican hold on suburbia is breaking due to their far right social policies. The New York Times provides an example of a socially liberal Republican suburb which is going Democratic:

The M.B.A.’s have had it. The engineers are fuming.

For as long as anyone here can remember, Bellevue has been a stronghold of socially liberal Republicanism. First, it was a prosperous Seattle bedroom community, then a technological boomtown, where employees of Microsoft and Internet start-ups consistently voted for fiscal restraint and hands-off government.

But now, voters here are accusing the party in power of overspending and overreaching — and when they do, they sound like people who write manifestos, not software code.

“I’m a mild-mannered guy,” Michael Mattison, a partner in a software venture development firm, said as he stabbed a piece of halibut in the sunlit dining room of a local bistro. “But we can no longer be subdued.”

Bellevue has been growing more Democratic for several years, thanks to an influx of liberal voters and a professional class that is changing teams. This year, Bellevue may send its first Democrat to Congress. Darcy Burner, who even supporters admit is inexperienced, may unseat Representative Dave Reichert, a well-liked, longtime public servant, simply because constituents want Democratic control of the House of Representatives.

“I am a Republican and have traditionally voted that way,” Tony Schuler, an operations services manager at Microsoft with a Harvard M.B.A., said as he sat with his wife, Deanna, in their home above Lake Sammamish. But Mr. Schuler abhors what he sees as a new Republican habit of meddling in private affairs.

“The Schiavo case. Tapping people without a warrant. Whether or not people are gay,” he said. “Let people be free! It’s not government’s job to interfere with those things.”

While there are many things making them angry, Republican opposition to embryonic stem cell research is the most objectionable:

It is a matter of concern across the country, even across parties. But for many engineers and their ilk, restriction of stem cell research is what gay marriage is to conservative Christians, a phenomenon so counter to their basic values that they cannot vote for any candidate who supports it. After all, for Bellevue’s professionals, science is not only a means of creating wealth but also an idealistic pursuit, the most promising way they know of improving the human condition.

“For hundreds of years, science has had its own jurisprudence over the truth. It’s called peer review, and it works pretty well,” said Mr. Mattison, whose father had Alzheimer’s and his uncle Parkinson’s disease. “I’m outraged that a mere politician would interpret science for me.”

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. 1
    Nick says:


    Undoubtedly the Christian Right and the anti-civil rights/liberties crowd are doing their part to make this happen but i do wanna throw a theory out there.

    Socially liberal suburbs like Bellvue,Montgomery County MD., the Philadelphia suburbs, etc. have tended to be-if not economically progressive-they are at least not as economically conservative,right-wing, laiseez-fiare, anti-labor, etc. as some other less socially liberal suburbs (e.g. Orange County, Calif.).

    Sure a lot of these places voted for Reagan, but the liberal impulse had tuckered people out by 1980, and that plus inflation and hostages=let’s check out this Reagan guy, even in a fair amount of union towns.

    The oligarchic economic policies of the Bush-Gingrich types offended these folks “values.” And the NSA spy program, Terri Schiavo etc., offended their civil liberties values and sent (some) of these counties reeling like crazy toward the Dems. Thoughts?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:


    Reagan was a fantastic actor. He could convince everyone listening that he was on their side, regardless of position. When he spoke in favor of freedom he neutralized the social liberal tendencies which are currently harming the Republicans in the suburbs.

  3. 3
    KerryDemocrat says:

    October 30, 2006

    • THERE IS NO EBB IN THE WAVE: With the election just eight days away, there are no signs that this wave is abating. Barring a dramatic event, we are looking at the prospect of GOP losses in the House of at least 20 to 35 seats, possibly more, and at least four in the Senate, with five or six most likely. (Read More)

    • GOV RATING CHANGES: Open-seat contests in Alaska and Idaho, two GOP strongholds, have become competitive. If Republicans cannot hold on in these contests on Election Day, their losses could be in the 7- to 8-seat range.

    AK Open Lean Republican to Toss Up
    ID Open Lean Republican to Toss Up

    • HOUSE RATINGS CHANGES: With just eight days to go until Election Day, the list of vulnerable Republican House seats continues to grow. Just a few weeks ago, most of these newly added contests were either considered long-shots or weren’t even on the radar screen. Click here to read more.

    AZ-05 Hayworth Lean Republican to Toss Up
    CA-11 Pombo Lean Republican to Toss Up
    CO-04 Musgrave Lean Republican to Toss Up
    CO-05 Open Likely Republican to Lean Republican
    IA-01 Open Toss Up to Lean Democratic
    KS-02 Ryun Likely Republican to Toss Up
    MN-01 Gutknecht Lean Republican to Toss Up
    NE-03 Open Likely Republican to Lean Republican
    NH-02 Bass Lean Republican to Toss Up
    OH-02 Schmidt Lean Republican to Toss Up
    WY-AL Cubin Lean Republican to Toss Up
    CA-50 Bilbray Likely Republican to Lean Republican

    On a roll folks

  4. 4
    battlebob says:

    An article in the Grand Rapids Press indicates East Grand Rapids, Mi is becoming more and more Democratic. This is really significant as this is an extremely wealthy area centered around Calvin College. This is the district for Vern Ehlers who is one of the top five Repubs in the US House.
    If it is going bad for Repubs there, they are hurting everywhere.

    My joy at a possible landslide is tempered by the massive Repub advantage due to redistricting. We gotta really clobber them to just break even.
    I make calls every night for 2-3 hours. My tactic is different; I talk to everyone including Repubs. I target areas where Repubs are strong by zip code. The idea is to get the Dem base out and try to convert others. The response has been very positive.
    I hope no one has cell phone minutes left after next Tuesday. Use them or lose.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    “My joy at a possible landslide is tempered by the massive Repub advantage due to redistricting. ”

    My fear is that we are seeing pack journalism spreading the conventional wisdom about the election results but there are many factors wihch could make them different in either direction than the current predictions. Redistricting is one. We now have a situation where Democrats are competitive in heavily Republican areas. They may win in many of these, but there is also the danger that instead of losing badly as in the past they will just manage to lose by a narrow margin. An improvement, but not enough to take the seat.

    Republicans also have the edge in get out the vote efforts, including a much better database of potential voters.

    Polling in House races is limited, and historically not terribly accurate. This could work either way. For example, I wojuldn’t be surprised if they don’t even have any recent polls in Ehlers’ race. While it would be a surprise it is possible that some Republican districts considered safe have flipped.

    In other words, despite the conventional wisdom on what the outcome will be, it is possible for either the Republicans to maintain control of the House, and also possible for Democrats to pick up even more seats than predicted.

    Next week we might be seeing many pundits “explaining” why the pre-election predictions were wrong. (Unfortunately if there are narrow Democratic loses there are elements of the left blogoshpere which is all set to claim it was voter fraud without bothering to get any evidence.)

  6. 6
    janet says:

    And the ads on TV in the Seattle area–even the republican ads–are running as far away from Bush as possible. In order to appeal to voters like those in Bellevue, the republicans are trying to show themselves as independent or hooked with McCain. Bush is not a popular guy anywhere here. Democratic ads use Bush.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    Here too. They are running an ad in Michigan where Dick DeVos (Republican candidate for Governor) morphs into Bush and back to himself.

  8. 8
    battlebob says:

    Granholm spent her money late but wisely. The ad that Ron mentions is a good one. Granholm is a very effective speaker and she makes a wonderful visually effective commercial highlighting her strengths and the AmwayGuy’s many weaknesses.
    I have seen only one LTE to the GR Press saying that DeVoss should be governor because his family has done so much. Everyone knows Dickie is a figurehead and his business ability is limited.
    He gets Repub support because of family and party loyalty. Granholm gets support because we know she is best for Michigan. The voters are starting to realize the Repub legislature has done everything in their power to prevent her from doing what is best for the state. I hear a lot of …voting straight Democrat for the first time…
    Bush has been here supporting Bouchard (US Senate opposing Stabenow) and there was very little press coverage. Even the GR Press is losing interest. .Stabenow’s campaign has been lackluster at best. She had a great lead but her inactivity has allowed Bouchard to catch up. Repubs see a chance to gain a seat back so they are playing this one hard.

  9. 9
    battlebob says:

    Another person never seen in Michigan is Betsy DeVoss. She is the real political power in the DeVoss family.

    Read all about it here…

  10. 10
    kj says:

    I don’t know what this ‘burg qualifies as, not quite rural, just barely a city. I’m hopeful we’ll break just a bit over 50% in the county but sweep? Fingers crossed. Still feels like a toss-up statewide as well. Can’t get a read.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:


    A while back I started on one idea for a post wihch I never finished. In light of DeVos looking ahead to a White House run I was thinking of an article comparing potential first ladies, such as Betsy DeVos or Teresa Heinz Kerry.

  12. 12
    battlebob says:

    Latest EPIC poll in Granholm/DeVoss governor race in Michigan…

    Granholm up by 10%
    Stabenow up by 14%

    The AmwayGuy is circling the drain…he is just about flushed…

    I am taking vacation Friday and Monday to make calls…
    I skipped last night because of Halloween…

  13. 13
    battlebob says:

    Showing the differences between Teresa H. Kerry and Betsy DeVos would be interesting.
    I took a quick look at Betsy. She is a real mean, wacko right wingnut nutcase.
    She reminds me a lot of Marilyn Quail who was to the right of Attila T. Hun.

    If DeVos is elected, Betsy will do her best to remove any semblance of government protections for the least of us.
    Forget about public schools, separation of Church and State, civil discourse, any protection of women’s reproductive rights, tax fairness.
    With a willing Repub legislature, Michigan will lose all the job generation efforts done by Granholm. What business in their right minds would relocate here when the governor is such a wacko?
    For me, this makes the defeat of DeVos mandatory.
    When I call folks, I touch on what Bush and the Conservatives have done but really go heavy on what DeVos wants to do.
    The idea is to get folks to the poll lines with an idea that they are voting for their kids.

  14. 14
    Nick says:


    How come I don’t see you at DemDaily anymore? I miss your intersting and stimulating comments to my (and other) posts.

  15. 15
    battlebob says:

    A lot of the topics have not interested me that much.
    In addition, the internet cops are watching.
    Most of my comments are about Michigan where Ron also lives.
    I live just a couple of miles from Ada, which is the headquarters of DeVos Inc. The amount of dissatisfaction with DeVos is surprising; especially with all the good his family has done for the area.
    My main task is working to stop DeVos and narrow the Repub majority in Congress.
    What Kerry is doing is great. His misspeak was unfortunate but unlike the Repubs, he did not try to lie his way out of it.
    After the mid-terms, I will get more involved in national issues.

  16. 16
    Nick says:


    I see what you mean. But if I might be so bold, I have two recent posts up there that I think you’ll find most interesting. One about a family’s loss of a loved one in Iraq and Kerry reaction to it.
    The other one is called “The Devil Went Down to Georgia, but could barely find a soul to steal” after the 1979 Charlie Daniel’s hit song. The post is about how Bush ws just preaching to the converted when he attacked Kerry in Ga. and where Democratic gains can be expected to happen in a few days. Hint: it ain’t in Bush’s home region.

Leave a comment