We’re 609 days away from Election Day 2020 — not too early to pick a horse! Obviously I like Elizabeth Warren. I like any number of the other Senators who have jumped in.
But can you give me one good reason why I shouldn’t support Washington Governor Jay Inslee for President? He’s a proven winner; he’s got executive and legislative and bureaucratic experience; local, state, and federal.
And … he’s running on climate. Big time. From his Rolling Stone profile:
Jay Inslee is running for president. His vision, he tells Rolling Stone, is an administration organized around the climate crisis, an entire federal government working in unison to decarbonize the economy and help save the planet. No candidate has his record on the issue, and none of them have said nearly enough about it, he says. “A lot of these candidates want to check the box,” he tells me. But one sentence in their campaign-launch events doesn’t solve this problem. “This has to be the number-one priority of the United States,” he insists. “Every agency has to be on board, and it has to take priority over everything else we do. You have to build a mandate for this during the campaign, and you have to express a willingness to spend your political capital to get this done. I think too many other candidates are going to say, ‘I’m for the Green New Deal, and now I’m done.’ That just doesn’t cut it.”
Well. You have my attention, Governor. And I do indeed suspect a bit of that “check the box” attitude with the other candidates: When we talked with Warren in her first campaign in 2012, I definitely did not detect much depth on climate. She may have grown into it, but I’ve never perceived that it was in her wheelhouse, except as another example of the rich running roughshod over the needs of everyone else. (This framing is not wrong!)
But this issue is going to require some guts, commitment, and sophistication. Inslee correctly views climate as a bundle of issues, the ultimate “intersectionality”: It is the economy; it is inequality; it is health care; it is national security; it is agriculture; etc. Dealing with climate will take up much of the attention of the next administration, both in reaction to current effects (droughts, flooding, fires, storms, economic fallout); and in building a climate-resilient future. One way or the other, there simply is no way out of it.
But, if you were interested in his other progressive bona fides:
On paper, Inslee’s résumé should make progressive voters swoon. As a congressman, he voted against the Iraq War, the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the bank bailout after the 2008 financial crash. As governor, he’s signed into law the first state net-neutrality bill, declared a moratorium on the death penalty, proposed a public option for health care and unveiled a plan to pardon thousands of low-level drug offenders.
He lost his first congressional seat in a reddish district in 1994 — because he voted for the assault weapons ban. His courage has worn well over time.
So tell me why I shouldn’t throw in with this guy right now? There’s a lot of time to make him a top-tier candidate.