Jay Inslee, exiting the presidential race, reflects on his campaign – David Roberts Aug 21, 2019, 9:16pm EDT


He drove climate onto center stage and left behind a comprehensive plan.

Jay Inslee holding a microphone.
Jay Inslee, no longer a presidential aspirant.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that he is ending his campaign for the presidency.

He did not reach the Democratic National Committee’s polling threshold of 2 percent in time to qualify for the next round of debates, though he did reach the donor threshold — he hit 130,000 donors at last count. Missing the debates would have made breaking out of a crowded field (on a shoestring budget) prohibitively difficult.

Inslee’s campaign was always a long shot, but it was never only about winning. The aim was to push climate change to the forefront of the Democratic agenda, and that is just what has happened. The issue was discussed in both debates thus far. CNN and MSNBC have both planned forums where the candidates will discuss their climate plans. And the DNC is going to vote on having a dedicated debate. Climate now ranks among the top three issues for Democratic voters in primary states, in poll after poll. Inslee is not solely responsible for all that, of course — activists and Mother Nature deserve some credit — but it certainly didn’t hurt to have a campaign pushing other candidates on the issue and steadily releasing policy plans to address it.

And hoo boy, those policy plans. Also on Wednesday, as if to bookend the campaign, Inslee released the final installment of his climate agenda, focused on agriculture and climate change. It is, like the installments before it, both extremely ambitious and extremely detailed. Altogether, the campaign has now generated more than 200 pages of climate policy. (See here for links to coverage.)

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