Amazon boss Bezos’ money loses US elections

This 12 November 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

“Seattle Is Not For Sale”: Voters Rebuke Amazon, Re-electing Socialist Kshama Sawant

In Seattle, Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has been re-elected in a race that pitted her against Amazon — Seattle’s largest private employer and one of the most powerful companies in the world. Overall, Amazon poured $1.5 million into Seattle’s City Council election and backed Sawant’s opponent, Egan Orion, with nearly half a million dollars. Kshama Sawant is Seattle’s first Socialist politician elected in nearly a century. She has successfully pushed a number of progressive policies, including making Seattle the first major American city to adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Kshama Sawant joins us from Seattle. The re-election victory “has been a major repudiation, not only of Amazon and of Jeff Bezos himself, as the richest man in the world, but also it has been a referendum on the vision for Seattle,” Sawant says. “The voters in Seattle have spoken, that Seattle is not up for sale.”

By Kayla Costa and Julio Patron in the USA:

Amazon-led corporate purge of Seattle City Council fails

12 November 2019

Late returns in the state of Washington’s mail-ballot election have dealt a major setback to the efforts of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce to purge the Seattle City Council of members who supported higher taxes on big corporations.

In five of the six seats targeted for takeover, the business-backed Democratic Party candidates lost and the candidates regarded as more hostile to corporate power won, including Kshama Sawant, a member of the … Socialist Alternative group, who won reelection to a seat she has held since 2013.

Sawant and another candidate targeted by Amazon, Andrew Lewis, had been trailing in the initial totals released by election officials on the evening of Tuesday, November 5, which consisted mainly of votes mailed in weeks ahead of election day. Young people and workers traditionally mail in their votes later, and Sawant and Lewis both surged from behind with late ballots.

By Friday, both Sawant and Lewis had moved into apparently insurmountable leads. Sawant led Egan Orion by 1,515 votes with only about 1,000 ballots still left to count in her District 3, with 51.57 percent of the vote. Assistant city attorney Lewis had 52.79 percent against former Seattle police chief Jim Pugel. The lone Amazon-backed candidate to defeat a more left-wing opponent, Alex Pedersen, had 52.34 percent of the vote against Shaun Scott, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Despite the frenzied rhetoric of … the Chamber of Commerce, on the right, … all [candidates] but Sawant were Democrats, as the Republican Party plays only a marginal role in the city’s politics, and endorsed all the business-backed Democrats.


Sawant received the endorsement of several local Democratic Party organizations in Seattle, as well as the backing of two incumbent Democratic members of the City Council whose seats were not up for election this year. …

The main feature of this year’s City Council campaign was the intervention of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which established the Civil Alliance for Sound Economy (CASE) as its political action committee to remove from the City Council all those members who had supported the “head tax” on large corporations that was passed in 2018 and then hastily rescinded under pressure from big business and Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan.

CASE and other corporate PACs raised and spent nearly $5 million, an unprecedented sum for a City Council election, with Amazon alone pumping $1.45 million into its coffers, including a well-publicized $1 million “money bomb” in early October which was supposed to terrify all political opposition.

One of biggest chunks of corporate cash, $617,592, went to Sawant’s opponent, Democrat Egan Orion, a director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Broadway Business Improvement Area, as well as a producer of Seattle’s annual PrideFest, a corporate LGBTQ festival. Orion has been painted as a liberal by the local press due to his identity as a gay man and his utilization of identity politics. However, he has a track record of endorsing pro-business policies.

Despite all the money spent by corporate PACs on the preferred candidates of Amazon—from $229,544 for Mark Solomon in District 2 to $831,407 for Heidi Wills in District 6—the population by and large voted for their opponents. Rather than being intimidated by the influx of corporate cash, many voters were outraged and they went to the polls in unusually heavy numbers for an off-year local election.

Voter turnout in this latest round reached 55 percent across the city and 57.6 percent in Sawant’s District 3. In her first election in 2013, Sawant beat incumbent Richard Conclin by 1 percentage point, with a voter turnout of 52.5 percent. In her second election campaign of 2015, Sawant beat Pamela Banks by roughly 12 percentage points, with a citywide voter turnout of barely 30 percent.

While Sawant’s three election victories, in 2013, 2015, and last week, undoubtedly reflect a leftward movement among working people and youth, this is not a response to the specific policies of Socialist Alternative … It is part of the radicalization of workers and youth as a whole, reflected in surveys showing that 70 percent of youth in advanced countries now support socialism.

In Seattle, the city has witnessed a drastic economic and social polarization fueled by the expansion of the technology industry, led foremost by Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google. The population has grown by 18.7 percent since 2010, making it the fastest-growing city in the nation.

This urban development has been tied to the rise in inequality, housing costs, homelessness and gentrification. In 2018, the median household income reached $93,000, up $7,000 from 2017 and far higher than the national median income of $63,179. By 2016, the top 20 percent of the population owned more than half of all wealth in the metro area, but the bottom 40 percent owned around 10 percent.

As in city after city, country after country, the working class and young population of Seattle has come to loathe Amazon and major corporations for the inequality, austerity, and exploitation associated with them. This general left-wing opposition found expression in the votes against Amazon-backed candidates and for their nominally “progressive” opponents, including Sawant.

This 11 November 2019 video from the USA is called Kshama Sawant and Chesa Boudin Secure MAJOR Progressive Victories Along West Coast.

11 thoughts on “Amazon boss Bezos’ money loses US elections

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