Washington state’s District 2 overwhelmingly voted in favor of Bernie Sanders during Saturday’s caucuses. Despite this, some of the state’s super delegates have said they will ignore the results and vote for the candidate they’ve already chosen.
Congressman Rick Larsen, who represents the residents in Island, San Juan, King, Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom counties is urging voters to get behind Clinton after he votes for her at the convention despite several people on his official Facebook page reminding him that caucus-goers in his district chose Bernie Sanders. The lowest percentage point Sanders won in District 2 was 67.3 percent in King County. His highest margin of victory was 80.5 percent in Whatcom County.
Larsen’s constituents were clear in their rejection of Clinton, but instead of listening and promising to take their votes into consideration at the very least, Larson posted several condescending comments.
One resident asked him to change his mind.
“Congressman Rick Larsen I hope you change your mind when Bernie wins the pledged delegates.”
His reply brushed her off.
“Thank you. I hope you change your mind when Secretary Clinton has the most delegates according to the rules the Democratic Party has had in place since the early 1980s and evary [sic] candidate has agreed to live by. R.”
As of this writing, the comments remain on his public Facebook page despite reports that they have been deleted.
When a voter warned him that people are paying closer attention to this election and have the power to support other candidates, Larsen responded with an accusation that had nothing to do with the current election.
“I agree that it is good more people are paying attention. Where was everyone on [sic] 2014 when so many [of] us were fighting the Tea Party while people sat on their hands? See you on the trail. R.”
Another resident reminded Larsen that he is up for re-election this year.
“I am sure you know, but in case you need a reminder…you are up for re-election too, and if you don’t represent our interests, then you are as bad as the Republicans that refuse to do their jobs. You are our representative, act like it, or risk your job.”
The support for Bernie Sanders in the state is so massive that no Clinton supporters could be found on Larsen’s page at all.
Because of Larsen’s disregard of his constituency’s choice, his opponent Mike Lapointe has gotten much more attention than before. According to his Facebook page, Lapointe’s personal and professional history reveals a lifelong activist in a similar vein as Bernie Sanders.
Lapointe has been an activist and member of United Electrical Workers in Massachusetts. He moved to Washington in 1999 and worked as a chemical dependency case planner and also with homeless teenagers at The Cocoon House. He says his “final” job was as network administrator for a 45-workstation computer network.
Rick Larsen has mentioned that he has a Republican opponent but has ignored Lapointe. If Lapointe continues to gain exposure as a result of Larsen’s dismissive behavior, then he won’t be able to ignore him for much longer. Already, the upstart candidate has been bombarded by supporters asking how they can donate to his campaign against Larsen.
A quick search for Mike Lapointe shows that he practices what he preaches. According to the Seattle Times, Lapointe and four other activists were recently convicted of trespass after blocking BNSF Railway tracks carrying oil. Lapointe calls his group of fellow activists the “Delta 5” and proudly displays the name on his campaign website. Their name derives from the Delta train yard.
Lapointe chained himself to a metal tripod along the tracks while the fourth protester on top of it, along with three other members of the group. The eight-hour protest sought to bring attention to the dangers of fossil fuel railway traffic during recent years, as well as proposals to build two port terminals to export coal and offload oil.
Reportedly, Lapointe served one day in jail for the protest and was fined $553 for his actions. His truly seems to be an upstart Democratic campaign. It is one that could give Rick Larsen a run for his money, especially if the Congressman continues to disregard his constituency’s caucus votes. Lapointe previous ran against Larsen as an Independent, but in 2016, is running on the Democratic ticket at the urging of his supporters.
Rick Larsen is currently serving his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives for District 2 and claims to represent the people. However, his recent remarks about disregarding Bernie Sanders’ landslide victory and using his super delegate vote for Hillary Clinton despite his constituents’ voice tells a tale far more troubling; It is the tale of a long-time politician willfully ignoring the people’s choice for the Democratic nomination.
- This article has been edited to reflect more accurate information. The trains Lapointe and his group protested were carrying oil, not coal. He is also running as a Democrat, not an Independent.
[Photo by Elaine Thompson/AP Images]