This Democrat Is Mulling A Presidential Campaign As A Climate Candidate

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The Democratic governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee, is considering a presidential run with one central theme: climate change.

Inslee may soon be joining a growing list of potential 2020 Democratic candidates vying for the 2020 presidential nomination. The two-term governor and former congressman has formed a political action committee, Vision PAC, which is already raising money. He also just finished a year-long stint as the Democratic Governors Association chairman, giving him access to a nationwide network of liberal donors.

In an unsurprising move, Inslee suggests his presidential ambition would focus on addressing global warming.

“The depth of the challenge, and the breadth of the economic opportunity inherent in this, really demand that. You can’t shilly-shally your way into defeating climate change,” Inslee said in a Rolling Stone interview published Monday. “And I believe it’s a potentially winning issue to run on. There’s evidence that’s the case.”

Inslee has long made environmental issues a priority since his time in Congress and in Washington state’s gubernatorial office.

Much like other members of his party, he wants to see fossil fuels dramatically replaced with renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, and is supportive of New York Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal.” He has also been in favor of measures outside the legislative realm, supporting lawsuits that target oil and gas companies.

However, critics argue Inslee’s success record on climate change is thin.

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he arrives to speak at a fundraiser for Washington Governor Jay Inslee in Seattle

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he arrives to speak at a fundraiser for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (R) in Seattle, June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque – S1BETLVYGHAA

“Even in a crowded field, Inslee stands out for his lack of accomplishments in a political career that started over 30 years ago,” Randy Pepple, a GOP strategist who has worked in Washington state, said to The Hill. “He has been unable to pass anything — law or initiative — on his so-called biggest priority, climate change. If he can’t pass anything in progressive Washington state, why would we elect him to lead our nation?”

Inslee vehemently backed a carbon tax bill during the 2018 midterm elections, going so far as to say that a vote against the carbon fee was the same as “voting with Donald Trump, who is a climate denier.” Despite his support, and the proposal taking place in a deep blue state, Washington state voters rejected the initiative by wide margins on Election Day.

Other signs indicate a deep unpopularity with carbon fees. Paris, for example, has been rocked with deadly riots as French citizens display their hatred of the country’s proposed carbon taxes, meant to direct the country away from fossil fuels. The riots forced French President Emmanuel Macron to suspend the climate tax altogether. (RELATED: Denmark Wants To Ban Gas-Powered Cars, Even Hybrids)

Nevertheless, Inslee attributed the carbon tax loss in Washington state to high-dollar interests, and has indicated he will push for a carbon tax on the national stage.

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