Jay Inslee’s Climate-Centric Campaign

March 11, 2019

Governor Jay Inslee of Washington has joined the presidential field with a climate-centric campaign. 

Brave and timely.

The most recent election showed that climate change is now mature as a top tier, even the top tier, political issue. (see video below)

Seattle Times:

Gov. Jay Inslee entered the 2020 presidential race Friday, launching a longshot campaign with a focused message that he’s the only candidate who would make defeating climate change the nation’s top priority.

In a short video announcing his candidacy, Inslee repeats what has become his signature slogan in recent years: “We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we’re the last that can do something about it.”

Over images of fire-scorched landscapes and flooding, Inslee said the nation must rise to the challenge, portraying a clean-energy revolution as a potential win for the economy and the environment.


The two-term Democratic governor kicked off his campaign Friday morning at news conference at A&R Solar, a Seattle solar-installation company that employs 70 workers. He plans to leave the state for national media interviews, and will campaign in Iowa Tuesday and in Nevada later in the week.

The determination to tackle climate change is nothing new for Inslee, as his video conveys with TV clips of him speaking on the issue over decades. He championed clean energy as a member of Congress and co-authored a 2007 book calling for a national campaign of research and deployment on the level of the U.S. Apollo program, which sent people to the moon, to push the nation’s economy away from dependence on fossil fuels.

Washington Post:

Minorities, he said, are disproportionately affected by climate change in part because they are more likely to live near pollution-spewing plants.

“I am running for president because, unlike the man in the White House, I believe in all the people who make up America,” Inslee said in one of several barbs directed at President Trump.

Inslee, 68, is the first governor to enter the crowded Democratic contest and has the longest political résumé of anyone in the race.

In 1992, after two terms as a state legislator, he was elected to represent a largely rural, Republican-leaning congressional district in central Washington. In Congress, Inslee attracted national attention by voting for the 1994 assault-weapons ban, immediately making him a target for the GOP.

“People are fed up with crime and want something done to protect them and their children from violence,” Inslee told reporters at the time, standing by his vote.

Inslee lost in that year’s Republican wave, but he mounted a comeback, winning in a neighboring district four years later. One of the most potent attack ads run against him portrayed a fictional call from President Bill Clinton, thanking Inslee for being so loyal; in 1998, Inslee ran his own version of that ad, with a Newt Gingrich impersonator thanking the Republican incumbent for helping him impeach the president.

Back in Congress, Inslee was a reliable liberal vote and a member of the center-left New Democrats. He focused mostly on climate and environmental issues; in 2007 he published “Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy,” a book about ways to transition the country from dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Mother Jones:

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democratic presidential candidate focused on climate change, argued Sunday that the Senate will have to abolish the filibuster in order to tackle the issue. “We’re not going to get anywhere as long as Mitch McConnell has the keys to the car,” he said during an interview at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Whereas other Democratic candidates are not running for the White House as single-issue candidates, Inslee’s campaign prioritizes the existential threat of global warming. The “first and paramount duty of the next president has to be to tackle climate change,” he said on Sunday. He warned that progress won’t be made unless the Senate removes the 60-vote threshold for passing legislation known as the filibuster, a long-standing procedural hurdle that requires 60 senators to agree to move legislation to a vote. Inslee, who noted he is the only 2020 candidate who supports ending the filibuster, called on other Democratic presidential contenders to join him.

That may be a tough sell among the other contenders, however, many of whom now serve in the Senate. The filibuster did force Democrats to weaken the Affordable Care Act before its ultimate passage in 2010, and it will likely stand in the way of other major legislation that Democrats may try to enact in the future, such as Medicare-for-All. But many Democratic senators are hesitant, because eliminating the filibuster is, of course, a double-edged sword: Whichever party is in power would more easily be able to pass laws without any say in the matter from the minority party.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), another presidential contender, says he will “personally resist” efforts to end the filibuster. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), another 2020 candidate, says she regrets a partial repeal of the rule in 2013. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who calls for radical change, said he is “not crazy” about the idea.

8 Responses to “Jay Inslee’s Climate-Centric Campaign”

  1. J4Zonian Says:

    Saying the words ‘climate change’ over and over doesn’t mean he’s willing to do what it takes to stop it.

    Maybe he is, and we should keep open minds, but I haven’t seen anything yet except an unknown guy who’s trying to separate himself from a crowded field by moving something to the top spot that they aren’t.

    Some running for president and no doubt hundreds running for other offices are making mouth noises about climate but have no intention of doing what’s needed—in fact, do everything they can to stop all rational actions to solve the ecological crisis.

    The House Climate Solutions Avoidance Caucus is a case in point.

    Bipartisanship will work when the Republican party is gone and all major US parties are to the left of current corporate Democrats, which is where a large majority of the US electorate is. Republicans in office now will never support anything remotely good enough to matter in our survival, and as long as they’re allowed to keep lying, and people can be manipulated into believing them, nothing remotely effective will happen.

    Republicans, for reasons that include narcissism, addiction, attachment disorders, and psychopathy, that together cause unlimited rage and hate, will never be satisfied with anything less than the destruction of civilization and all life on Earth (that they can get to). Only taking power away from them and going on with progressives in charge will avoid collapse. The chances of this happening in the election next year are near zero; it will have to be done by other means. Today was the first in a series of actions by young activists including Extinction Rebellion, the Sunrise Movement, school strikers and others. Watch for more in your area, go where are some, or organize your own.

    • funslinger62 Says:

      I think Inslee’s track record on climate action speaks for itself. You should take him at his word.


      • J4Zonian Says:

        It doesn’t speak for itself. He’s been pretty progressive in general, although Washington is one of the most progressive states in the US–so it would be surprising if he weren’t. The book was written in 2008, but the things he said in the “What’s it going to take?” section, the last chapter, didn’t come close to answering the question, and left me not just uninspired but cold. It’s going to take things far beyond what he said in his book, and far beyond the things I’ve heard him say in interviews, to avoid cataclysm.

        I’m glad to have him in the race; climate should be the top issue of every candidate, but the fact that he says it is doesn’t automatically mean he’ll be better on climate than Sanders or a few of the other candidates. We’ll have to judge over time who will actually do something (and be able to lead on it) and who’s just another of the packed-together bunch of corporate shills trying to step on everyone else to get their head high enough to be seen. And we’ll have to force whoever gets in to go well beyond what they’ll do voluntarily, and act to protect sufficient actions with demonstrations, boycotts, blockades, impeachments, and maybe revolution. The US public has collaborated in allowing itself to be fooled over and over and over; it’s easy to see them going for a familiar corporate faceless like Biden or a white Obama-clone fossil fuel shill like O’Rourke. Inslee may be the acceptable alternative but so far I’m not excited by any of them. Would that Ocasio-Cortez were experienced and old enough…

        We’re running out of elections in which we can still cast a vote for survival; in one of them soon–maybe the next one if we vote wrong this one–we’ll just be voting on whether to have legal pot on the way into the abyss.

        • funslinger62 Says:

          While Inslee may not plan to go far enough in the fight against climate change, he will probably go farther than any other candidate intends to.

          We can only choose between people who are actually candidates. Unless someone else steps up with a bolder plan to fight climate change, Inslee has my vote.

          It’s still early in the campaign and Greta Thunberg’s efforts might just wake up a few candidates. Let’s hope so.

          • J4Zonian Says:

            Although Inslee sounds pretty good on climate, neither of you offer evidence that he’ll be better than Sanders or other candidates. They all make strategic choices about what they say and emphasize in campaigns, that don’t necessarily indicate what they’d do if elected. (Remember that Obama addressed climate change in about every stump speech, then spent 6 1/2 years doing virtually nothing, sabotaging and weakening the international negotiations, and touting the ludicrous “all of the above” strategy, then 1 1/2 years legacy shopping with grossly inadequate measures that have since been mostly tied up in courts or reversed (a danger of lame-duck actions especially).

            Especially in this absurdly crowded field, the candidates do whatever they have to to differentiate themselves from the rest (except for those who can count on enough corporate money and superdelegates to do that without trying–Biden?) O’Rourke has made the strongest statement I’ve heard from any candidate so far (despite the weirdness that yesterday was not a year) and yet, oddly, I have absolutely no trust that he’d do anything more than Obama–considering his complete corporate-gray wishy-washiness, lack of apparent beliefs or passion, and his ties to fossil fuel corporations and all. Gabbard has reversed herself on any number of things and has maybe nuanced, maybe irrationally conflicted views on the empire, human rights of various flavors, and most other issues; there’s no way to tell so far what she’d do on anything.

            And so on, with every candidate, most of whom we can dismiss out of hand as just more of the same corporate duopoly tools, some of whom, while admirable on most issues and people we could enthusiastically support in general (Warren), haven’t shown anything like the fire on climate catastrophe and the larger ecological crisis that we need. Whoever it is, we’re going to have to force them to do what’s needed.

            In any case, you said first that inslee’s record speaks for itself and we can take him at his word; now you’ve retreated to “While Inslee may not plan to go far enough in the fight against climate change, he will probably go farther than any other candidate intends to.” While I have utter confidence that he won’t go far enough on this or any other major issue, I don’t have any confidence that he’ll go further than others, and his record absolutely doesn’t speak for itself, and we absolutely can’t take any of them at their word. On crucial issues of survival like climate cataclysm, inequality, and the drive toward fascism, the US government under the control of the corporate duopoly and the oligarchy that owns both will do what it’s forced to do in fear for its life (or at least its officials’ reelection) and not a single damn thing more.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    While on my way to a doctor’s appointment this AM, heard on the radio a quick snatch of what some candidate said about climate change—-didn’t catch name or party affiliation.

    ‘”…climate change isn’t going to be a big problem for 50 or 70 years, so we don’t need to be talking about it so much now…” or something very close to that.

    Made my day.

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    Oh my, Jeffy has eaten too much alphabet soup again, and it has caused him to have a huge “vowel movement”. (Found that tidbit in a Michael Connelly novel, and immediately though of Jeffy). Although Jeffy’s two comments here are perhaps an attack of mandibular diarrhea—-it could also be know-it-all reflux (?). Sorry, but it WOULD be nice to get a chuckle out of Jeffy—-he is SO humorless.

    Since what Jeffy says is merely his OPINION, although it sounds like it came out of a burning bush, perhaps others of us could offer our thoughts without being told to commit suicide?

    It is a waste of time to yammer on about all the Democrats who want to be president. The real problem is the Repugnants and the greedy rich and all the damage they’ve done to the Constitution, the government, and the country over the past 40 years. They’ve almost succeeded in buying it all and creating the corporate feudalism, plutocracy, and oligarchy that will be the end of the U.S.

    Stop worrying about which candidate wants to plant more trees and look to the 2016 and 2018 election. Hillary DID win the popular election, and 2018 was the year of Democratic women. 40 years of testosterone, male egotism, and narcissism just haven’t worked. So, drop ALL the men from the race—-Sanders is too old, as is Biden, who has baggage also, Beto is an ADHD child, the others are more of the same (Inslee who?).

    Get behind the women—-there’s no doubt that Trump at al are going to piss off even more of the women voters in this country, and they’ll show their anger My favorite is Warren, who will “show the fire” on climate change if elected, just as she has on many other issues, followed by Harris.

    One of my big worries is that the spoiled children will stay home or vote for Jill Stein or Nader or some other election destroying nobody as they did in 2000 and 2016—-does Jeffy have any solution for that problem?

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