By Justin Chermol
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state is the 2020 Democratic candidate running on a platform that prioritizes action on climate change above all else. And he says the biggest threat to the climate right now has a name: Donald Trump.
President Trump has repeatedly denied that the Earth is getting warmer ー he's called it a "Chinese hoax." Instead, Inslee said, global warming should be viewed as "an existential threat to our nation."
"Our nation's national security, our health, our economy is so much threatened by carbon pollution, and we need leadership to build a clean energy future."
Still, Inslee considers himself an optimist even in the face of a troubling scientific consensus.
"The most persuasive thing is reality, and we ought to be optimistic as it happens all across America," he said.
To pass climate proposals, Inslee proposes getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate, which allows the Senate leadership to effectively block measures unless the other side comes up a two-thirds majority. He called the filibuster a "vestige of the antebellum era."
"We can't let Mitch McConnell to use this as a weapon to prevent progress," he said.
Inslee faces an uphill battle in a chock-full field of 2020 candidates in which issues like healthcare and the economy poll as more relevant to voters' everyday lives than the more amorphous issue of climate change. But the second-term governor said climate issues are part of everything, from gas prices to national security:
"Huge drought causes mass migrations, which causes political instability, which causes military conflict," he said.
That theory is borne out by recent studies that show migratory patterns around the world are already shifting.
The question of whether Inslee can gain traction running in a crowded field expressly on an issue that wasn't even mentioned in the four 2016 presidential debates remains to be seen. But he believes President Trump's abdication on environmental policyー starting with his pullout from the Paris accord ー gives him room.
"The rest of the world has continued to fight climate change, while Trump has gone backwards," he said.
For full interview click here.