#DudeBros

To this day, the phenomenon of #BernieBros continues to exist. If you want to see your Twitter or Facebook blow up, dare to criticize anything that Sen. Sanders does. I've seen some of the bros troll 2+-day-old Tweets to start a fight and get their point across that Sanders can do no wrong. 

Of course, there must also be the assertion that the DNC stacked the deck against Sen. Sanders, and his losing to Clinton in the primary by nearly 4,000,000 votes is because it wasn't fair. For those paying attention, in 2008, many in the so-called "establishment" preferred Hillary Clinton. Yet Barack Obama was successful. 

So if you're trying to tell me that a long-time, white, male Congress member somehow would have a tougher time with a purported disadvantage than a first-term, black man....I guess I'm just going to have to call bullshit. Hillary Clinton ran a better primary campaign that Bernie Sanders. 

Of course, this #DudeBro mentality extends far beyond the 2016 Democratic primary. For the twelve of you who read my #RunningForMayor post, you'll know I have concerns about some of the statements new Mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver has made with respect to zoning, and in particular what to do with the detached single-family zoning in the city. Her perspective on a lot of issues, and way at which she comes to her conclusions, is something I greatly admire. A social justice lens is necessary if we are going to be equitable, after all. And her ability to talk about homelessness for the experience it really is - that is something we need in the debate. 

At the end of the day, she is a new candidate. I expect any new candidate to evolve their positions through the course of a campaign, particularly as they learn more about specifics of municipal policy. Ms. Oliver doesn't come from the trenches of zoning warfare, and I believe we must afford her greater latitude to educate herself, and to reach out to people who can have meaningful conversations around zoning. 

Unfortunately, that is not enough for some. In particular, the white, male urbanists are the first to cast stones the moment they hear something they determine to be "NIMBY" in nature (more on that tomorrow). There is some dogma to urbanist thinking, and it always fascinates me the response from some of the louder urbanists when someone strays from the tenets of these beliefs - even if there is a coupled "I am going to learn more" tied in (as was the case with Ms. Oliver on the Shadow Council).

We have a few options to better respond, I believe, and they all come from different points of view. We can disagree on the policy proposal or position put forth by a candidate, using facts, data, and where we're coming from to simply disagree. "I disagree with position x because y." It's simple enough, and doesn't require a bunch of "She's wrong because I SAID SO AND THIS BLOG AGREES!!!" thrown in. 

We can disagree on the policy, but agree on so many others that we want to help shape policy (in particular if the person seems new to an area of policy). "I disagree with position x, and have reasons, but I agree with positions a, b, and c. I want to be available to talk about x, because I think I understand where you're coming from, and want to learn more and better understand, and see if we are really on the same page." More complicated. And, of course, requires an invitation. Demanding someone's time so you can tell them why they're wrong is a dick move

We can disagree on the policy, but want to ensure that there isn't promulgation of bad information. This is the hardest one. "I disagree with position x, and some of the "facts" cited in support of position x are patently untrue. I understand why you're at position x, but do not believe anyone is benefiting from false or misleading information being spread." Often, I don't think people know when they're spreading false and/or misleading information. And hearing from someone you're disagreeing with that you're spreading false or misleading information isn't the best feeling in the world. 

Seattleites love to hate their mayor. It appears to me that there are folks who want Nikkita Oliver to be the knight in shining armor on urbanism because, to them, she is just that on social justice. At the same time, people have to be prepared to settle. Nikkita Oliver's platform has a lot of good, but also a lot of protectionism, isolationism, and blame of people who emigrate to Seattle for our woes. More funding for awesome programs is great. But calling for dramatic cuts in taxes concurrent with dramatic increases in program funding for long-time Seattle residents is reminiscent of something much more obscene in our country. 

Ultimately, we can disagree on public policy, and that's perfectly fine. However, being a bro and telling people they must think like you or they're (insert ad hominem here) is not a path to progress.