Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Seattle: "Why the Anti-Tunnel Campaign Lost"

McGinn in front of the viaduct in 2010 (Joshua Trujillo/ file photo)

Sandeep Kaushik (publicola):
It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. A few short months ago, as pro-tunnel backers fought — and failed — to keep a tunnel referendum off the ballot, the conventional wisdom was that Seattle voters would surely vote against the tunnel if they were given the chance for an up-or-down vote.

I shared that view. Polling showed that the tunnel is the first choice of only about 35 percent of Seattle voters. While downtown interests were united in supporting the tunnel, for a diverse array of reasons skepticism about the tunnel plan ran deep among the public. Seemingly all the anti-tunnel campaign needed to do was amplify those doubts to emerge victorious.

While they were always likely to be outspent by the pro-tunnel interests, they supposedly had an army of energized activists to take their message directly to doorsteps across the city. And after all, hadn’t Mike McGinn’s election as mayor proved that grassroots passion trumps establishment money in Seattle elections? At a June fundraiser for Dow Constantine, guests were asked to pick the outcomes of upcoming races. I guessed that Referendum 1 would go down to defeat, 54-46.

So what happened? The campaign happened. As the Let’s Move Forward pro-tunnel side ran an effective, disciplined campaign — central message: tens years of debate is long enough, it is time to move forward — the anti-tunnel forces floundered, making a series of strategic and tactical errors that damaged their cause.

Here, in my view, are the errors made by the anti-tunnel side...MORE...

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