NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

Cheer up, Seattle Times: There will be plenty of exciting in-state political drama in 2024

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.

And a new study was just pub­lished find­ing that Wash­ing­ton is one of the best states to grow old, with the eighth high­est life expectan­cy in the U.S.

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.

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One Comment

  1. You are talk­ing about the paper that gave Rob McKen­na free adver­tis­ing in 2012, why would the paper be friends with Jay now?

    # by Mike Barer :: August 29th, 2019 at 9:28 PM