Update: The DNC Resolutions Committee voted down a debate format for the climate forums 8-17. Protesters sung their displeasure.

Correction: The original version of this post stated that Sen. Elizabeth Warren had no climate statement on her campaign website. Actually, she has several, under “Latest Announcements”. The author apologizes for the error.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee withdrew from the race for President of the United States. His plan to campaign on his success in fighting climate change was a case of planting his flag in quicksand, given that Washington State’s carbon emissions continue to rise($) quickly.

Indeed, we continue to build more roads, while the state barely invests in transit, and invests almost nothing in bike or pedestrian infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee will be voting today on the format of a CNN forum and an MSNBC forum on climate change next month — primarily whether one of both of them will be debates or “town halls”, in which candidates address the audience separately, one by one. Inlee’s low polling kept him from getting to participate in the CNN forum.

Within the DNC, Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski is leading the call for a debate. The Sunrise Movement has led the charge from the outside. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez is being blamed by various debate supporters as the leading opponent of the debate format.

Inside Climate News has analyzed the climate records and platforms of the major Democratic candidates.

Various candidates’ website statements on the climate crisis are linked below:

46 Replies to “Inslee quits presidential race; DNC to vote on debating climate action plans today”

  1. The Democratic Party seems to working hard towards screwing up again — all in the name of fairness. When it comes to the party platform, their proposals are more popular. Yet they somehow manage to lose, and lose often. It is no wonder, when you consider how they’ve handled the debate situation.

    First of all, ten people debating is way too many. No wonder there hasn’t been a significant movement in the polls since the debates started (for anyone). The candidates have very little time to address the issues. Six people per debate makes a lot more sense. There is no reason why they can’t have a lot more debates. Eventually, as people actually vote, the field should shrink, and you would need fewer debates (fewer candidates mean that each one has more time). But when moderators talk longer than candidates, the process is a mess.

    Meanwhile, the poll requirement is nonsense. At this point, most of America hasn’t seen the candidates. They are picking people based on name familiarity. This means that governors tend to do worse, and Senators tend to do better. The crazy part is that historically, governors have done a lot better in elections than candidates than U. S. Senators or representatives. They may be unknown a few months before Iowa, but they go on to victory.

    There are better methods for winnowing candidates. How about number of votes, over their career? That excludes the small town mayor who thinks he is ready for the big time, as well as people who have never held elected office, but magically think they are ready to run the government. At the same time, to allow for a small state Senator or governor to compete, you could include the polling numbers. In other words, high poll numbers wouldn’t be a requirement, but rather, a backdoor way to qualify. In any event, there should be more debates, but with fewer people on stage.

    Once you get past the first few primaries, then you start requiring some delegates (although people without any tend to drop off anyway).

    We have a screwy system where one of the most qualified candidates drops out before Iowa, while people who would have no idea how to handle the job are given the chance to debate.

    1. Polls are indeed a terrible way to gauge eligibility, especially this early, and probably shouldn’t be used at all. We put way too much faith in their reliability and too much weight on their importance. Media is also constantly interpreting the results in misleading ways to fit whatever narrative they want to spin.

      Any cable news pundit will say Biden is the clear front runner but Bernie is getting far more individual donations. What’s more accurate, a poll of land-line telephones or actual, real donations?

    2. They are losing because our election system is incredibly unfair, with a strong rural, white bias. Donald Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million.

      1. Actually, it has a bias towards the majority not pushing over the minority, to entice smaller states to join the Union. This is independent of race. Small states that aren’t overwhelmingly white also fit into this (Mississippi comes to mind).

        Unfortunately, over the years it has come to be rather disasterous for presidential election.


        The Electoral College in the U.S. Constitution
        The original purpose of the Electoral College was to reconcile differing state and federal interests, provide a degree of popular participation in the election, give the less populous states some additional leverage in the process by providing “senatorial” electors, preserve the presidency as independent of Congress and generally insulate the election process from political manipulation.

      2. The only time there was a need to entice states to join the Union was when the Constitution was being written. After that, it was a congressional exercise in balance between adding slave and free states. So, yeah, the small states part can’t really be separated from the 3/5 Compromise.

        Some opponents of the national compact for direct popular election of the president are still actually quite blatantly white supremacist, like Former Governor Paul LePage of Maine.

    3. One cure for the electoral system that gave us the 2016 results: advance inter-party agreement that getting the most popular votes means you never concede.

      National Rifle Association dues are only $45 a year. Would be worth a lot more to hear the NRA have to defend the blatantly elitist Electoral College against its own members.

      With me, Elizabeth Warren is less a matter of stated positions, though I like most of hers, than of outlook and approach. Could be an age thing: being only five years my junior, my company is legal for her until she chases me away because she’s got a Senate committee to run. Or a Presidential campaign.

      Major plus points that she turned down the nomination in 2016 in order to face down the bankers who’d just destroyed our economy.

      Confirming another judgment: favorite politicians like James Garfield, Harry Truman, and very likely Abraham Lincoln had in common the fact that they took the job out of duty, rather than ambition.

      Next attraction that you need some age to appreciate: She used to be a Republican.

      Democratic operatives who think that public option or single-payer health care are extremist need to look up the last time a major party called itself “Radical.”



      And no “Better-Regulated” militia member than a German refugee from a lost revolution in the Old Country, arrived here in time to enlist by choice in an antislavery regiment. Many native-born white Union troops blamed black people for the war.

      Family word has it that if he hadn’t had to pawn them to feed the family during the Depression, my mother’s dad would’ve bequeathed me half a dozen Constitutionally-mandated revolvers.


      And some other personal references to Republicans from days whose loss leaves certain voters in a similar political state of mind. That sadly generally does not show up on the average poll.


      BTW: In the first two Commandments this very evening, God Himself just told me that in neither the United States nor Israel, do I have to vote for a single incumbent either this year or next.

      Mark Dublin

      1. “National Rifle Association dues are only $45 a year. Would be worth a lot more to hear the NRA have to defend the blatantly elitist Electoral College against its own members. ”

        The $45/year NRA annual dues are a lot best spent on ammo and range time here in the south. Fortunately we got a deal and paid less than $600 each for each of our life time memberships. More ammo and range time for us.

        My husband earns $80k/year and it gets us by real good here. That’s because our taxes are much lower compared to yours in King County: Gas is $2.19/gal, no soda tax, property taxes are less than $2k/year and every other “sin” tax is much lower than what you pay for up there.

        If any one is an “elitist,” it’s the progressive politicians in your area who claim they need more of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars to solve the homeless crisis, give tax-payer-funded legal support to illegal aliens, provide free daycare to kids, and give another raise to educators so they can afford their lattes.

        Meanwhile, Seattle Mayor Durkan lives in a $7.5M, 5,000 sq ft home. Guarantee you Durkan ain’t conceding in her living arrangements while thousands throughout her city suffer everyday.

        “Family word has it that if he hadn’t had to pawn them to feed the family during the Depression, my mother’s dad would’ve bequeathed me half a dozen Constitutionally-mandated revolvers.”

        Well thank God your Grandfather cared enough to feed his family. The Depression sucked for many, many, many people. Your grand daddy was very fortunate to have something to pawn.

        BTW, what is “Constitutionally-mandated revolvers?”

        Can you get me in on that program?

    1. In fairness to the other candidates, I’ll have to let the lack of a climate statement on her campaign webpage stand on its own. If I have to track down each candidate’s best statement, that would take days. Other candidates have managed to show the climate emergency is a top priority for them, by actually talking about it on their website.

      If she needs a better webmaster, her campaign manager should get on it. If she is simply trying to hide her climate message from casual perusers and direct it toward key audiences, that is the Alex-Pedersen approach to campaigning.

      I like Warren a lot as a candidate, but I’m tired of the whole game of politicians delivering one message to one audience and an entirely different message to another audience. The list above is fair and equitable reporting.

      1. Lol.

        “Everything wasn’t easy to find or wasn’t on a website therefore it doesn’t exist.”

        How did people learn about issues 30 years ago? Hint… not from a website.

      2. “Everything wasn’t easy to find or wasn’t on a website therefore it doesn’t exist.” — Where are you quoting from?

        I updated the post to specify that no climate statement was found on their campaign websites.

      3. @Brent

        She has three pages with her Green/Climate plans on the Issues page of her campaign website. They’re listed and linked to from the “Latest Announcements” tab:

        <a href="https://medium.com/@teamwarren/accelerating-the-transition-to-clean-energy-46af492d8c57Accelerating the Transition to Clean Energy

        My Green Manufacturing Plan for America

        Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change.

        I agree that it would be better web design and messaging to have a single overarching climate page for everyone to start from. It’s also arguably confusing branding for her to publish her plans on Medium, rather than hosting them on her own domain, but this doesn’t undermine the substance of her plans.

  2. The fundraising criteria is also messed up. You shouldn’t be able to qualify by spending $10 million of your own money to get 65,000 $1 donations. At a minimum, a donation should have to be at least $10 to count.

    Agreed that the criteria was too generous. The candidate set we’re going to see for the 3rd debate is probably what we should have seen for the second. The 3rd and 4th debates should be limited to the candidates polling at least 5%.

    1. That’s not how it works. You need 65,000 donations from 65,000 different people in all 50 states. You can’t just donate to yourself to qualify.

      1. No, but you can spend millions of dollars on advertising soliciting $1 donations, which do nothing to actually finance a campaign, just game the system to qualify for the debates. This is not just hypothetical. John Delaney did it and Tom Steyer is currently doing it. Neither have any real grass roots support.

        I don’t think a minimum donation amount of $10 (for debate qualification purposes) would be overly burdensome, or prevent people with more moderate incomes from participating. It would just help to prevent abuse. If you don’t care enough about the candidate for his campaign to be worth $10 to you, your donation shouldn’t count.

      2. There’s no real difference between $10 and $1 except not everyone wants to give $10. Mike Gravel for example solicited donations of $1 in order to qualify (which he did, but not in the polls). I threw a buck his way because, why not? No one ever called to get my opinion in the polls.

      3. There’s no real difference between $10 and $1 except not everyone wants to give $10.

        If that were true, candidates why wouldn’t candidates advertise for 10 dollar donations for debate purposes? Over thousands of donors, that’s real money.

        I threw a buck his way because, why not?

        This undermines the claim in your first sentence. Like most people, you’re more likely to toss one dollar without much thought or care than ten. I’ll give a couple of dollars to a busker from time to time, but if all I’ve got is a $10, they’re not going to get it. The difference is real.

      4. I’m almost certain making the limit $10 wouldn’t make a difference for anyone, except for candidates like Gravel. What needs to be fixed is the polling not the donation requirements.

  3. Inslee’s campaign failed not because WA state’s carbon emissions are rising but because, on average, the electorate doesn’t care about climate change. If it was a winning issue, more people would’ve been behind Inslee. On its own, climate change isn’t a major issue. Should it be? Yes. Is it… even among Democrats? Not really.

    This next election is a referendum on Trump, not climate policy.

    1. I don’t think that’s true. As evidenced by this post, every Democrat talks about climate change and has a plan to combat it. Inslee’s problem was it’s all he wanted to talk about. He had the best climate plan out of anyone but there are other things on people’s minds too. It doesn’t help that he’s about as exciting as a glass of tepid milk.

    2. I agree. By beating The Great Red Cheeto you kill two birds with one stone. You take care of a whole host of climate related problems that became compounded issues because of him. Hello Paris Accord, please welcome us back. EPA on life support, no worries full support has been renewed. Vehicle emissions requirements rolled back to the 50’s, no worries California you are no longer alone. Greenland afraid of becoming a tropical golfing paradise, don’t fret it Denmark a cooler jet stream will reappear. Pink Salmon boiling off the coast of Alaska, no worries Prudhoe Bay, oil drilling will be off limits once again.

      It’s amazing how one man can be so destructive and leave a trail of environment carnage with all its slimy entrails.

    3. Maybe instead of beating climate change to death, the discussion should just be on things that would make a difference. You can leave “climate change” out of every discussion and still get the same or better results. If mass transit will combat climate change, talk about mass transit, not climate change. Not that mass transit is required because of climate change. Talk about how mass transit will impact and improve people’s daily lives. I think people would relate far closer to mass transit than the controversial climate change.

      If greener buildings would make a difference to the climate change folks, then talk about creating greener buildings and provide a path to do that. You can leave out the words climate change altogether and get possibly better results. If you harp climate change in hopes to get something (ie, mass transit), then you’ve already excluded those who disagree about climate change. You can garner far more support for something (ie, mass transit) if you leave off “climate change.”

      My two cents.

      1. You’re right, democrats are stupid about these things. For instance, they shouldn’t talk about healthcare for all, it just gives the Right another angle to pounce on them “socialist”. They should just say lower the age of medicare by 10 years and raise the dependents age to 28 (or some reasonable additions) and keep it within a comfortable context. Marxist indoctrination always sounds threatening.

    4. Inslee failed because he is a governor, and the Democratic Party decided to limit access to candidates based on polling. At this point in the campaign, nobody knew who Jimmy Carter was, and candidates like Scoop Jackson and Udall were the front runners. Carter won Iowa, and then the Presidency. Bill Clinton was also a relative unknown. It took him six tries before he won his first primary, and that was in the South. It wasn’t until the 14th primary — in Wyoming — that he won his first primary outside of the South.

      Generally speaking, no one knows about the governors. It isn’t until the heavy campaigning starts that people pay attention to them. Basing the debate decision on poll numbers just means that candidates like Inslee don’t have the early exposure to actually break through before Iowa, while preventing a big showing there to bolster their campaign. This is a huge misstep by the Democratic Party, given that historically, governors do better than Senators when running for President.

    5. Agreed. Read also: guns (to a lesser extent)

      Democrats stumbling over each other to stake positions that are complete non-starters to the voters that matter (white guys in flyover country, apparently.) I think they were debating reparations the other day. Totally worth another 4 years of DJT to win some progressive p1ssing contest.

      1. There are only a few states that matter in the election, and none of them are on the west coast. There are basically just a few million voters in a few select states that actually get to decide our presidential elections.

      2. So your strategy is to visit the “flyover” country and strike up a conversation?

        That might work if you meetin’ us at the range. Otherwise, forget it. That’s the “flyover country” stereotypes most folk would like to believe.

        What about us white girls in flyover? Or maybe we don’t matter much cuz our men folk jus tellin us how to vote, amiright?

        This is why city folk will never win us over: Your 1) think you know better than us and 2) don’t know how to shoot.

        FYI: Men down south think self defense is sexy. And they know it saves lives.

  4. Inslee failed because he’s Inslee. He’s the Democrat that Republicans can feel good voting for. He’s literally to the right of Trump. He never had a chance, and only got into the race to score a cabinet position in a new executive’s office.

    Link is to The Political Compass 2020 candidate political breakdown.


    1. Inslee a Republican? Weird, I thought they all saluted and had a loyalty oath to The Donald….

      Nah, Inslee is just weak. That’s all.

    2. This chart is ridiculous, they put Tulsi to the left of Gravel? Almost nothing makes sense. Anyway trying to accurately determine Trumps position on a right/left spectrum is impossible because he holds no convictions except putting himself above all others. He’s contradicted himself on pretty much every conceivable issue.

      1. As the Compass itself mentions, this chart is from a neutral Overton Window, not from the skewed US vision.

        But back to Inslee. What makes you think he’s not that far to the right? As one of his constituents back in the mid 90s, I can telk you that the “Democrat a Republican can feel good voting for” soundbite was used as a selling point in his campaigns. That’s the line they unofficially used in places like Bainbridge Island to score him votes. His right leaning tendencies got him to where he is now. Why would he change his successful tactic all of a sudden?

      2. I don’t know much about Inslee to gauge where he stands on the overton window. However, I do know about Sanders/Gravel/Tulsi. To me their positioning doesn’t make sense so that’s enough for me to assume the others are probably wrong too.

      3. But back to Inslee. What makes you think he’s not that far to the right?

        Oh, I don’t know, maybe it is his entire history as a politician. Or maybe it the time I’ve spent actually talking to the man. I suppose he may have been playing the long game — pretending to be someone he isn’t while hiking up Mount Bogachiel. Shaking hands with constituents while trying to win a swing district. It was all a giant game, while he bode his time, ready to make the switch and become the most right wing Democrat since George Wallace. Or maybe — call me crazy now — he is a sincere mother fucker who just wants what is best for this country (and planet).

      4. a neutral Overton Window

        Is anyone actually dense enough to take this bizarre premise seriously? Political position is obviously always contextual, as anyone who thinks about it for 20 seconds can see. If you want to say our left-wing candidates would be center right in Sweden, OK fine that’s not very interesting but it’s not clearly absurd? But a “neutral” political map? Are you kidding me?

    3. According to that chart, we are really lacking for authoritarian leftist options. Where is our Stalin?

      1. There are a couple of Stalins on that list. They just need the power. Remember, before Stalin had absolute power, he was studying to be a priest.

        Sam. Stalin expert.

    4. He’s literally to the right of Trump.

      Stop. Just stop. Put down the drug pipe and stop. I would specify the drug — but frankly, no drug has ever made me as delusional as you are now. Oh, and believe me, I’ve had my share. I’ve seen been the Grateful Dead, as they are best seen. Holy fuck, man, get real. Get yourself to the tent, and just relax. In a few hours you will get back to normal, and reality will start oozing in.

  5. Thank you, if Jay Inslee wanted my support he better start talking about a statewide investment in public transit before anything else. So sick of cheap talk, little action.

    As is, holding out genuine hope Hilary Franz will acquire the moxie to stand up and primary Inslee. Because we need a Governor who stops talking, start doing. Furthermore with Phil Fortunado running the Republicans have made clear they want to demonize Seattle and Sound Transit.

    Yes folks, I’ve changed a lot over the years…

  6. What happens to the money, assuming the campaign isn’t deep in debt. Can he roll that over into his gubernatorial race? I mean the money was donated to an individual. Maybe he’ll throw back a few bucks to cover the 1/2 million or so he racked up in State Patrol costs gallivanting around the country.

    1. The money was donated to a committee, not an individual. Returning some of the money is an option, and then re-soliciting the same donors. Contribution limits apply even when two committees are supporting the same candidate.

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