Disregarding the impassioned calls for unity being made by national leaders, Islanders resolve to move past the unprecedented solidarity they displayed in the 2020 election as they look ahead to 2021’s races.
“A conspiracy of consensus can be tolerated in inconsequential elections, like last year’s,” said Island attorney and activist Natan Maybach-Yard. “But when the future of our precious island is on the ballot, as it will be in 2021, there are two groups of local voters: Those who agree with me, and those who are narrow-minded and uninformed.”
“I’m not yet old enough to vote, but I am old enough to deceive and divide the people who are,” said Mercer Island High School sophomore I. Emmett Rolle. “The elections of 2017 and 2019 set a high bar, but my friends and I are confident we can take it to a whole new level this year.”
Analysis of the final results of November 2020 general election showed not only that 89% of the Mercer Island’s 19,000 registered voters returned their ballots, but that they gave large margins of victory to the winners in nearly all federal and state elections. Winning candidates outpaced the second place finishers by margins of 2-1 or even 3-1 among Island voters, including the races for state senator (68%-24%), governor (72%-25%), and president (75%-21%).
One local expert predicts that 2021’s results will be very different.
“The Mercer Island community is defined by its commitment to tradition, and few local traditions are more time-honored than rancor and incivility in our political discourse,” said Seattle University political science professor and Island resident Pareto Optimal. “In the old days, these internecine conflicts were limited to campaign forums and city council meetings, but now, thanks to social media, we can have them online every day.”
Optimal believes that current arguments over mask-wearing etiquette and when to reopen Mercer Island schools will transform over the coming months into debates about the city budget, public safety, and whether Sound Transit is a cabal of flesh-eating bacteria.
Despite their fierce disagreements on local issues, Islanders concur that the election of 2021 will resemble 2020’s in one significant way. Said Optimal: “No matter who wins in November, the losers will claim that the election was rigged.”