Floyd J. McKay, emeritus professor of journalism at Western Washington University, covered Pacific Northwest politics as a reporter and opinion writer for four decades, primarily in Oregon. He was commentator/news analyst at KGW-TV (King Broadcasting) from 1970 to 1987. Previously a print reporter, he returned to print and online reporting and commentary from 2004 to 2017 with the Seattle Times Op-ed page and Crosscut.com. He is the author of Reporting the Oregon Story: How Activists and Visionaries Transformed a State (Oregon State University Press, 2016). He lives in Bellingham.
Ironically, for many in the generation before fancy craft beer, the legacy of Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve is not the beer itself. The legacy is the wild and whacky television commercials created to promote the beer.
A columnist has only one boss, his editor, who can also stand between him and angry detractors. A governor—even a candidate for governor—is naked against the scorn. Even veterans of other offices are often surprised by how incredibly personal being a governor can be, and how lonely.
Oregon has a governance crisis, directly related to becoming a one-party state. The history of single-party domination is often that of drifting to the fringes of left or right. Oregon is no exception. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is widely disliked in rural areas; she is generally seen as the typical Portland liberal.
So, slam dunk for the Dems to score again in 2022, as new congressional borders are drawn? There is predictable pressure from Republicans to rebalance the delegation by drawing a new district that would look purple but could turn red. But it’s a long shot.
There are two huge elephants in this room. One is climate change, since the project is on low-lying shorefront. The other is the railroad, cutting right through the project. All in all, a good fit for "The City of Subdued Excitement."
What should be clear is that Trump’s frontal attack on American elections and the threat of a bloodless coup must call forth a vigorous response from leaders of both parties. What should be obvious is that Trump’s mental struggles will not cease when he leaves office, nor will his cult-like hold on millions of Americans.
Much is broken. The Electoral College was another concession to slave states, abetted by concerns that some intermediary was needed between the presidency and masses of ordinary (white male) citizens. A thorough examination of the inequalities it shields and a case for repeal can only be done by a bipartisan body.
Portland, with 77 percent white population is one of the nation’s whitest cities, yet it will be majority-minority on the new city council. The city remains among the most liberal in terms of social policy, but the mayor’s victory plus this shift on the council may signal a police-reform agenda that would not be radical.