I’ll Miss Jay Inslee.

Why I wish America would have paid more attention, and given his message a chance.

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Photo via Jay Inslee on Instagram

Out of all the lower tier candidates participating in the democratic primary race, the only one I wished would stay in the fight, even for the sole purpose of just participating in the debates, was Jay Inslee.

As a politician who made combatting climate change the center of his campaign, it cannot be understated just how valuable and important the Washington Governor’s voice was in the national discourse. I was genuinely disappointed to hear he made the decision to end his campaign, especially so soon after he had succeeded in hitting the number of donors needed to participate in the next upcoming debate.

To be clear, based on polling I was never under the impression he would be president, and at a certain point of course it would come to an end. But as insufferable and smug as some lower tier candidates with absolutely no chance like John Delaney or Michael Bennett can be, I don’t think anyone saw that at all from Mr. Inslee. Regardless of whether he had a shot at the nomination or not, I never really got the impression that he was doing any of it for his own political ambitions, and I can’t help appreciating that kind of sacrifice and selflessness.

From the beginning, Mr. Inslee’s mission and his message was clear. While he may not have been high in the polls, his social media campaign to get a climate change debate garnered the national attention it deserved, and even succeeded to an extent. His efforts, combined with pressure from grassroots movements like the Sunrise Movement ensured that democratic presidential candidates will at least be participating in climate change centered town halls on national TV. We shouldn’t forget that without Jay Inslee, that would not have happened. The fact that he won’t be on the next debate stage, but someone like billionaire Tom Steyer might be should infuriate all of us.

Even aside from his message, there was such a wholesome, well meaning quality about him that I couldn’t help appreciating. In an era where politics has become so vitriolic and full of anger, he was a breath of fresh air, and I’m going to miss his presence on the debate stage. It should go without saying that whoever wins the nomination should acknowledge Mr. Inslee’s abilities and values, and hopefully make him the head of the EPA in their administration.

I really wish America had paid more attention to Mr. Inslee’s campaign. Climate change is the single greatest existential threat facing life on this planet, and the fact that Mr. Inslee fought as hard as he did to draw attention to that speaks volumes. When so many of his fellow candidates on the national stage are espousing messages filled with nothing but vapid platitudes that offer nothing of substance, Mr. Inslee used his platform to bring something vital and necessary to the table. I wish him nothing but the best, and I hope he is aware of the impact he has made.

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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