2020 election from a Washington perspective: The Conservative, the environment, and the 'boogie man' president
As the 2020 election approaches, KUOW is talking with Washington voters about the candidates and issues they care about.
KUOW is presenting these voices as the opinions and the perspectives which inform people's votes in 2020.
Todd Myers: Environmental director at the Washington Policy Center (a Conservative think tank) in Seattle, and also currently sits on the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council.
Issues/perspective: Identity politics has become more important than results and that is hampering progress on environmental issues. President Trump has become a "boogie man" for Democrats to blame every time they fail.
Todd Myers did not vote for Trump in 2016. Instead, he wrote in his dad's name. His dad will likely get his vote again in 2020.
"In Washington state, because it is so obvious it is not going to go for Donald Trump, I sort of have a free vote," Myers said. "If I lived in a swing state, I would have to think harder about it."
Myers doesn't think much about national politics. Instead he focuses on acting locally. But when pressed, he says that he feels Trump has a mixed record of good and bad. For example, while Myers agrees with Trump's stance on border security, he doesn't support his anti-immigrant sentiment.
And he doesn't "think that environment is a particular focus of (Trump's). That is pretty clear." But he likes that the Trump administration seems to favor having less control in the hands of politicians, and more in the hands of individuals.
“He has put a lot of tariffs on various countries, including Canada,” he says with a laugh. “Which I think is odd. And China certainly is becoming more of the Soviet Union of the 1980s where they are overtly hostile in using trade policy and are anti-humanitarian. So I think there is some merit in trying to address the challenge of China."
Myers primarily is concerned with environmental policy at the state level. He's the environmental director at the Washington Policy Center in Seattle, a free-market based think tank. He also currently sits on the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council. From this perspective, he appreciates the streamlining that has been done under the Trump administration. He points to the Department of Interior as an example, where he says Director David L. Bernhardt has streamlined processes and permits that used to take years to get through.
"This is something I’m looking to do here in Washington state. Not just for construction, but for habitat restoration. I can tell you that restoration projects in Washington state take far too long. And permitting drives people who are trying to do good things for salmon crazy."
When he does consider Trump, Myers more often perceives a “frenzy” to criticize the president "based on emotion and not on facts.” He says Trump is a convenient “boogie man."
“Every time you point out that we haven’t made progress on climate change, Donald Trump is blamed, which is ridiculous," he said. "Salmon recovery is going badly in Puget Sound; we haven’t met any of our targets we have set.
"The administration and government in Washington state are failing on many of the key issues, but all they have to say is ‘It is all Donald Trump’s fault’ and everybody stops paying attention. I just think that the environment, our health, and a lot of policies are paying the price for that."