Seattle voters have elected a socialist to city council for the first time in modern history. Kshama Sawant, a member of the populist Occupy Seattle movement, ran on a platform of raising Washington State’s minimum wage to $15 and levying a “millionaire tax” to pay for mass transit and public education.
Sawant took 50.3 percent of the vote to incumbent Richard Conlin’s 49.4 percent. Even in this liberal city, Sawant’s win has surprised many here because Conlin was backed by the city’s political establishment.
While city council races are technically non-partisan, Sawant made sure people knew she was running as a socialist – a label that would be politically poisonous in many parts of the country.