Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saving the Elusive Seattle Republican

Today was a significant day in the field of political conservation here in Seattle. The Republican Caucuses were held today in Washington State, just as they are every four years. Political scientists and urban conservationists always get excited about this event because this is the best opportunity, happening as it does only once every four years, to get a glimpse of the critically endangered Seattle Republican. According to the Seattle Audubon Christmas Bird Count, only three (3) Seattle Republicans were counted this past season.

Seattle Republicans (Modica Republicanas) are members of the flock of Moderate Republicans once ubiquitous in Seattle and across Washington State. Democratic accounts of early Seattle paint the city teeming with suspender-clad Moderate Republicans. Seattle even elected a Republican mayor back in the 1960s, although his name escapes us just now. The last notable Moderate Republican was Governor Daniel J. Evans, who served as governor of Washington State back in the 1970s.

The numbers of Moderate Republicans plummeted precipitously beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, for several reasons. Climate change was one. But the primary reason was the ill-conceived introduction for sport hunting of the ferocious California Republican (Parasitica Republicanas). The introduced California Republicans overwhelmed the native Moderate Republicans in their native habitat. Moderate Republicans were driven into isolation in ever smaller urban enclaves. Eventually the groups of Moderate Republicans became so isolated they stopped interacting and breeding with calamitous results for the general population.

Political scientists, especially at the University of Washington, and urban conservationists first took notice of this problem in the 1980s, when the California Republicans turned on the dominant species in Washington State, the Progressive Democrats (Progressivum Popularus). Democrats, especially in Seattle and Western Washington, proved impervious to assault by California Republicans, and readily established a stranglehold on the political environment of Seattle and Western Washington. No Republican, native or introduced, has been able to win elective citywide office in Seattle for example since the 1970s. Eastern Washington proved to be another problem, however. The drought and heat-stricken scrub lands of Eastern Washington proved somewhat conducive to supporting populations of the nonnative California Republicans, probably because the environment more closely resembles that of their native California. But the flocks of California Republicans have never been able to establish themselves in Eastern Washington in numbers any where near great enough to challenge the hegemony of Seattle Democrats.

Anyway, by the turn of the century it was clear that the population of native Moderate Republicans could no longer be sustained without intervention. By the 1980s Seattle Republicans were recognized as a Critically Endangered Species. A permit system was introduced by the City of Seattle and a Catch and Release Policy enforced (SMC 12-34-1984). Even these drastic measures proved ineffective.

Political scientists and urban conservationists at the University of Washington sounded the alarm, and started pressing the City of Seattle to institute a captive breeding program, before Seattle Republicans went the way of the Spix's Macaw. The UDub professors enlisted the assistance of Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. The zoo agreed to hold and maintain any Seattle Republicans that could be captured. Seeing how Seattle Republicans were fearful and nocturnal in the best of times, political scientists determined that the date of the Washington Republican Caucus was probably the last best chance to capture any surviving Seattle Republicans.

Woodland Park Zoo enclosure erected specifically to house Seattle Republicans

Political science students and concerned amateur urban conservationists spread out across Seattle today staking out known locations of Republican caucuses. Scientists and conservationists became excited early in the afternoon when a report was received of a female Seattle Republican searching for a caucus. There has been no confirmed sighting of a female Seattle Republican since 2004. Upon further examination, however, the image provided proved to be that of an introduced California Republican.

BREAKING: We have just received word from the Political Science Department at the University of Washington and Woodland Park Zoo officials that a specimen of Seattle Republican has been captured, and is awaiting transport to Woodland Park Zoo. We have received a copy of a photo of this specimen, and once officials confirm this is an actual Seattle Republican we will post more information in a blog post update. Stay Tuned!

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