Most Influential Seattleites of 2017: Chris Vance

Seattle Magazine presents the Most Influential Seattleites of 2017.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
Meet Chris Vance, the conscientious objector.

There’s an age-old question of whether the man makes the times or the times make the man. If, for better or worse, Donald Trump is a man shaping an era, Chris Vance may be having his Winston Churchill moment. Once a prominent state Republican Party leader, he’s emerged as an outspoken Trump detractor who recently joined the American Civil Liberties Union. And, like Churchill, Vance now finds himself in the political wilderness for following his conscience.

This wonkish politico abhors the “Vichy collaboration” he sees among his Republican brethren, in a party for which supporting Trump is the litmus test. Admittedly, Vance had nothing to lose when he spoke out following the 2016 election. Having just lost his Senate bid to Patty Murray, he was no longer a candidate. But he did not expect to be a lone voice. “Where is the honor?” he wonders about Republicans who choose to grit their teeth and support Trump or hide their heads in the sand.

“It is time to stop rationalizing or excusing the outrageous,” writes Vance in his Wide Awake Blog. Inspired by The Centrist Project, whose goal is to reshape the two-party system by promoting independent candidates, by the time you read this, Vance will have abandoned the party he has held dear since 1980. “History will look back on 2016, 2018 and 2020 as the transformation of our political system,” he says. “I want to be part of that transformation.”

Check out the rest of 2017's Most Influential Seattleites here.

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