In light of today’s shameful action by the Trump administration, people who care about their future grandchildren have to essentially hope for this: the rest of the world stays together and continues to press forward with Paris’s emissions targets and indeed ratchets them up, while blue states proceed with their own targets and plans as if we were still on board. These states demonstrate to the rest of the country that compliance need not be particularly costly, making it politically easier
Thankfully, largely due to the continued decline in the cost renewable energy, this isn’t wildly implausible. (It’s been suggested that one reason big Oil wants the US in is to serve as a drag on the rest of the world pushing for more aggressive targets.)
My purpose here is to put on your radar another 2017 election that matters, potentially a good deal, for the above scenario. Obviously, California is the most important state for climate politics, but another medium-sized state with political conditions that make aggressive climate action possible is Washington. It’s a priority for Governor Inslee, but the Senate is controlled by Republicans (+1 “Democrat” who caucuses with them) with a 25-24 majority. In November, 45th district Republican senator Andy Hill, re-elected to a 4 year term, died of lung cancer. Hill himself was very popular, but his district isn’t safe Republican territory–the same district is represented by Democrats in the House, and the popular Hill only won by 6 in a very good Republican year and with a personally well-liked incumbent. Furthermore, the 45th is the kind of district–suburban, highly education, upper middle class–with little love for Trump (carried comfortably by Clinton) and generally supportive of environmental initiatives.
For the 2017 session, former State Senator, failed Republican Senatorial and Gubernatorial candidate, and all-around slimeball Dino Rossi was appointed to fill his seat. But for the 4th and final year of Hill’s term, a special election will be held as part of the November 2017 general election. The control of the Washington State Senate hinges on this election.
There will be no meaningful primaries; the Democrats and the Republicans each have a pretty good-on-paper candidate, and both are fundraising hard for what will surely be the most expensive state Senate race in the state’s history. (Hopefully, the Republican candidates’ affiliation as a McMorris Rodgers aide can be used against her, she’s pretty much gone full-Trump) The DLCC recognizes the significance here and is in hard for Manka Dhingra, the Democratic candidate. She seems fine, but this isn’t really about her; it’s about giving people who care about the planet control of the state government.
Update: Inslee, Brown, Cuomo announce “climate alliance.” Would be great to see more Governors join: Ige, Brown (OR), Hickenlooper, maybe Malloy seem like good targets.