Seattle may soon become the most prominent American city to officially embrace police and prison abolition. Voters are one election away from forever altering the promise of Seattle.
On November 2, voters may install the most radical group of politicians this city has ever seen. Given the current makeup of the council, that’s saying something.
Two high-profile campaigns feature self-described “police abolitionists” who won their primaries: council candidate Nikkita Oliver and city attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy. The candidate for mayor, Lorena Gonzalez, is no friend to police, either. She advocated for a 50 percent cut to the police budget. She even wanted to fire white officers to ensure a more diverse, though dwindled, force.
This city is truly on the brink of chaos.
One Candidate’s Extremism
Oliver is a community organizer, lawyer, and activist running for one of two at-large council seats. She won the primary and now faces a Democrat pushing a public safety agenda. That’s not something Oliver can get behind. She was vital in helping create and maintain the deadly Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), where armed extremists took six city blocks of Seattle by force.
The current Seattle City Council is already hostile to police. It defunded the department by nearly 20 percent last year. Despite a surge in violence after the move, Oliver wants to cut more. She doesn’t merely identify as a police abolitionist; she even teaches a Seattle University course on the subject.
If elected, she vows to gut the Seattle Police Department budget by at least 50 percent. She would reallocate police funding to housing, child care, and community organizations. She wants to stop the police from handing out tickets and will push to end Seattle’s contract with the King County jail.
When talking with mainstream media, Oliver tries to tamp down her extremism. She told the Seattle Times in 2017 that she doesn’t want to abolish police or prisons immediately. She merely wants to create “a healthy society where human needs are met … and that would decrease a lot of the crime we see.” How sweet.
While the left-wing Times helps push this propaganda, Oliver doesn’t hide who she is on Twitter. “Seattle Police are tyrannical. Defund SPD by 100% at least and invest in communities,” she tweeted earlier this year.
She routinely calls police “murderers” and says violent riots are justified while downplaying them as mere property destruction. She even spreads wild conspiracy theories claiming police pretend to be Antifa to justify violence at protests.
Another Extremist Candidate
Oliver will have an ally in the mayor’s office if Lorena Gonzalez wins her race. Gonzalez is the current council president and has helped push her colleagues farther to the left. Although she’s not a police abolitionist, she was an early advocate of the defund-the-police movement. Gonzalez promised to cut 50 percent from local police but settled for less. She wasn’t happy about that compromise.
“I, and so many of my colleagues, did make a sincere commitment to want to defund the police department by at least 50%,” she told Vice News in late 2020. “But, as we know, city budgets are very complicated. Police budgets are no exception. And when we got in there, we realized that they had spent most of their budget for the year, and 50% would be hard to do without completely abolishing the police department.”
Gonzalez chided the police union for getting in the way of the council’s defund movement, almost as if she expected they would stand by as the council fired its members. Roughly 80 percent of the Seattle Police Department’s budget is personnel, making a 50 percent cut catastrophic to an already dangerously understaffed department. Gonzalez knew that.
Although she didn’t introduce the idea, Gonzalez reignited an illegal push to fire cops who are white. During the defund deliberations, then-police chief Carmen Best noted that newer recruits would be first to let go if they cut the budget. They were a significantly non-white officer class after considerable effort went into race-focused recruitment.
Gonzalez’s council colleague Lisa Herbold tried to fire officers out of order so they could avoid firing non-white people and, instead, fire the older white staff. It failed because of city regulations (and the law), but Gonzalez said in the new police contract, she’d push for this again. What do you think she’d do to the police force if she had power over the budget as mayor?
The Most Dangerous Candidate
Oliver and Gonzalez would destroy the Seattle Police Department if the council gave in to their wishes. But if police abolitionist Nicole Thomas-Kennedy wins the city attorney race, what’s left of Seattle would be destroyed.
Thomas-Kennedy does not hide who she is or what she believes. It’d be an admirable quality in a politician if her views weren’t so extreme, even by Seattle standards. She may be the most dangerous candidate in the country.
The abolitionist is running on a platform of ending most misdemeanor prosecutions. She argues the criminal justice system is racist and preys on the oppressed. She vows to dismantle the very office she’s running for, which would keep even more criminals out of jail and on the streets to victimize more residents. Her position doesn’t protect victims, it creates them by embracing anarchy and chaos.
Thomas-Kennedy believes property destruction by Black Lives Matter radicals is a “moral imperative.” She cheers on an Antifa arson against a juvenile detention center construction site. She labels this country “Amerikka” while calling cops “Nazis” and “oppressors.” Unsurprisingly, she backs defunding the police. She wants to abolish the police altogether.
Police Abolitionist May Win Election
Despite her radical views, Thomas-Kennedy won the primary, although it was in a three-way race. She now faces a moderate Republican. Two recent polls show she may actually have a viable path to victory.
Strategies 360/KOMO News polling shows neither Thomas-Kennedy nor opponent Ann Davison cracking 20 percent support. Davison’s prospects fare much better in a recent poll by left-wing Northwest Progressive Institute, earning 43 perent to Thomas-Kennedy’s 24 percent.
So how’s this good news for the police abolitionist? Both polls show a remarkably high number of undecided voters. This suggests Seattle voters may be reluctant to support a Republican, Davison, even when she’s up against an extremist. Worse, it could indicate they haven’t yet even looked into the candidates.
You can’t be undecided if you know what Thomas-Kennedy stands for: you either lean into the chaos she would bring, or you’d be repulsed by it. Either scenario can give Thomas-Kennedy enough support to pull off a victory. How utterly terrifying.
Seattle is truly at a crossroads. We’re on year two of a historic surge in violent crime. We have the fewest number of deployable officers since the 1980s. Our current criminal justice system — no matter what Thomas-Kennedy claims — rarely punishes criminals. Instead, they’re released with a slap on the wrist or unenforceable demands that they seek treatment. And homelessness has never been worse.
Voters in Seattle must vote like the city’s future is on the line — because it is.