Governor Jay Inslee’s decision last week to exit the presidential race and instead seek a third term as Washington’s chief executive in 2020 has not been well received by the state’s newspaper of record, The Seattle Times.
To date, the Times has published an editorial and a column by Danny Westneat bemoaning the state’s “pecking order politics” and arguing that Washington would “benefit from a slate of new leaders”. In other words, the newspaper would like to see a slew of Democrats run against each other for higher office next year.
“Governor Jay Inslee should reconsider seeking a third term as governor after dropping his presidential bid. Washington voters deserve the opportunity to choose from a variety of new political candidates who have patiently waited in the wings for his decision,” the Times editorialized on August 23rd.
“So Jay Inslee is going instead for a third term as governor, which means Dow Constantine is probably headed for a fourth term as King County Executive and Bob Ferguson for a third term as attorney general, which in turn means state Rep. Drew Hansen will stay on for a sixth term in the state House and M. Lorena González will stay on the Seattle City Council and Hilary Franz will stay … zzzzzz,” agreed Westneat in an August 24th column.
What’s wrong, y’all? Tired of watching Survivor: White House?
If so, I can’t blame you, but still… isn’t the drama in the other Washington enough? I mean, just last week the man pretending to be our President canceled a trip to our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally Denmark after being rebuffed on his desire to buy Greenland, referred to himself as “the Chosen One”, and repeated an adoring admirer’s reference to himself as the “King of Israel”.
Every day, Individual Number One tweets out a steady stream of insults and put downs and signs off on reckless, irresponsible schemes from his minions intended to open the floodgates to further pollution of our planet, further concentration of wealth in the hands of the already rich, and further chaos in global markets.
Keeping up with Trump’s various campaigns of destruction (his assault on our environment, his attacks on immigrants, his racist fearmongering against communities of color, his undermining of farmers and American businesses that export products abroad) is exhausting. Why would anyone be hungry for political drama in this Washington when we have such an excess of it on the other coast?
Our country is metaphorically on fire right now.
Fortunately, there is an opportunity to douse the flames next year.
To me, that’s what the 2020 election is and should be about: saving the United States of America from doom and ruin at the hands of a narcissistic, neofascist sociopath. Dislodging an incumbent President isn’t a simple or trivial task.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve already got dependable leadership. Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson have been a great team.
Again and again they’ve stood up for Washingtonians, not just resisting the horrible excesses of the Trump regime, but actively fighting to get Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional actions stopped in the courts.
Inslee and Ferguson are often joined at press conferences by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, two other high profile Democrats who have made no secret of their gubernatorial ambitions.
It is evident that these people all genuinely like and respect each other. They share many of the same qualities: they are results-oriented, for example, and optimistic about what can be accomplished through hard work and perseverance.
No governor has run for or secured a third term in Washington since 1972, but Inslee has a solid case to make that he should remain the state’s chief executive.
This year, under Inslee, Washington was ranked the number one state in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Not the number one state for business, a title the state has previously achieved, but the number one state overall.
What’s more, Moody’s just bestowed upon Washington a sterling Triple AAA credit rating, recognizing Washington’s fiscal strength and great potential.
The leadership we’ve already got has a proven track record of getting results. The 2018 and 2019 legislative sessions produced waves of new laws that will improve lives and strengthen our communities. The Legislature has tackled healthcare and behaviorial health, education, access to democracy, pollution and environmental protection, net neutrality, social justice, equal pay, and reproductive rights.
Many of the bills that have been signed into law could have landed on Inslee’s desk sooner, had there been a progressive majority running the Senate in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Unlike his predecessor Chris Gregoire, Inslee did not have cooperative legislative majorities in both chambers for his first term or even all of his second. But there’s a good chance he will if he secures a third term.
Westneat wondered in his column if Inslee’s heart is still in the job.
I think it is. I think Jay Inslee really enjoys being Washington’s governor and could get a lot done for this state if he were to be reelected to a third term.
He will have to earn it: voters tend to punish complacency when least expected to, so Inslee will need to hustle if he wants to cruise to a third term.
The governor should make visiting Washington’s rural communities a top priority in his 2020 campaign. He should show up in places like Newport (Pend Oreille County), Dayton (Columbia County), or Cathlamet (Wahkiakum County).
Inslee owes voters a new strategic plan for building a more inclusive economy. Places far away from the tech boom taking place in King County (like farmers in Chelan County) need to hear from Washington’s governor and know that he has a plan to improve their economic security and well-being.
If the governor runs a thoughtful, meaningful reelection campaign, there’s no reason to believe Washingtonians won’t renew his mandate for another four years.
This may not be to the liking of The Seattle Times’ editorial writers, columnists, or even reporters. Cheer up, y’all: there’s always another election on deck. You’ll get your exciting in-state political drama soon enough. Those chutes and ladders will get deployed. Not in 2020, perhaps, but 2024 will be here before we know it.
In the meantime, we have a lot of fires to put out. Some metaphorical. And some literal. South of the equator, in Brazil, South America’s largest country, much of the incredibly diverse Amazon rainforest is currently on fire. This is a catastrophic ecological emergency that demands our attention.
We could certainly use a few more editorials and columns on that subject.