2020 election: The ‘Climate Candidate’

Courtesy of Jay Inslee, Flickr Commons

On Friday, the governor of Washington state announced he would be joining the growing number of presidential hopefuls.

Jay Inslee, 68, has been governor since 2013, replacing Democrat Chris Gregoire, who presided over a state budget crisis. She chose not to seek a third term.

The Chicago Tribune’s “Campaign 2020” lists the 11 official Democratic candidates running for the next presidential election. There are both old faces and new, with many more speculated to run, and Inslee is not a surprising addition.

While in office, Inslee has focused on funding education, support for mental health care, ending the death penalty, and the environment, among other issues.

His political advertisements label him as the Climate Candidate, and it is true that Inslee has spent much of his time as governor campaigning for reduced use of fossil fuels. He has supported two carbon tax initiatives in the state, both of which have failed. They would’ve been the first of their kind nationwide.

In an interview with David Roberts of Vox, Inslee said he believes climate change is the biggest threat to the United States.

“It is clear that it will only be defeated if the United States shows leadership,” Inslee said. “And that will only happen if the U.S. president makes it a clear priority — the number one, foremost, paramount goal of the next administration.”

According to Inslee’s website, jayinslee.com, he will focus on four principles to fight climate change as president: using clean energy, investing in jobs and infrastructure, pursuing environmental justice, and ending fossil fuel subsidies.

This ‘Climate Mission,’ as he has dubbed it, is a clear method to carry the U.S. forward into an age of environmental awareness. Whether Inslee would get a Congress on his side if he is elected, however, is still a toss up, despite the presence of like-minded representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. After all, there is little the president can accomplish without Congressional support.

At this point in the race, Inslee is a strong contender. He represents progressive ideals with a strong background in politics, giving him a solid chance to win over both young and old voters.

However, he could also be considered too toned down for more liberal voters. Unlike Kamala Harris, Julian Castro and Bernie Sanders, he is either too white, not progressive enough or too old. Like other young, female voters, I envision a future where other young, progressive, non-white women are taking the political stage, including the presidency. Inslee doesn’t quite complement that image.

Despite this, he remains a promising candidate for the environmentally conscious. Time will tell if Inslee has what it takes.

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