What Happens When Female Politicians Try to Stand Up to Sports Fans

I have a story in The Atlantic today about what happened in Seattle when the five-member female council majority voted down a street-use change that would have helped move a new basketball arena forward.

Perhaps only sports could bring this kind of ugly misogyny into the public conversation. Since Seattle lost the Sonics to Oklahoma in 2008, fans—mostly male—have rallied under names like Sonics Rising to bring the NBA back to the city. But women have always struggled to gain power in politics in this otherwise liberal city. Only one woman, Bertha Knight Landes, has ever served as mayor, and that was for a single two-year term in the early [20th] century.

For example: Twelve years ago, in a scandal known locally as “Strippergate,” three council members, one male and two female, were caught taking illegally bundled campaign contributions from a strip-club magnate seeking to expand his parking lot. The two women were summarily booted from office in elections after ugly campaigns called their integrity into question. Groups like the National Women’s Political Caucus frequently wring their hands about the lack of women lining up to run for local office, and gender was a punch line at candidate forums last year, when a council candidate named John Roderick joked there were more candidates named Jonathan (three) than women (one) running for the two citywide council seats.

In interviews, most of the five council members who voted against this month’s street-use change—which would have handed control of a public alley over to a San Francisco developer who has vowed to “bring the Sonics back” to Seattle—say they weren’t prepared for the hundreds of emails, tweets, Facebook posts, and voice messages they received from angry sports fans, almost all of them male.

Go read the whole thing here.

3 thoughts on “What Happens When Female Politicians Try to Stand Up to Sports Fans”

  1. Then Full Frontal with Samantha Bee coins a *new* team, the Seattle Seawards. Now *there’s* a team to give three cheers for …

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