Billionaire Tom Steyer appears to have joined the 2020 Democratic candidate carousel, which seems destined to break off its axel and ravage a small town in Iowa. The investor, climate change activist and impeachment cheerleader laid the groundwork for a run with a Tuesday-morning revamp of his website, centered around a video highlighting his “5 Rights.” He joins the likes of West Virginia congressional candidate Richard Ojeda and — gulp — Michael Avenatti as the first names in the race as of November 2018, a full two years before the next election.
“I grew up believing the point of our country was to be free, the promise that everyone could make a good life for themselves,” Steyer says over a somber piano line. “But over time I saw big corporations buy our democracy and set the rules for the sake of their profits, not for the common good. Corporate lobbyists rigged the system, leaving the majority walled off from their dreams.”
“We need to turn this around. We need to redefine what it means to be free in the 21st century, to make sure we all have the same chance to earn our fair share of America’s prosperity.” Steyer then goes on to detail his “5 Rights”: the right to an equal vote, the right to clean air and water, the right to free public education, the right to earn a living wage and the right to universal health care. Makes sense.
Steyer concludes the video by announcing that he will host a series of events to push his “5 Rights” message. The speaking tour will kick off December 4th in South Carolina, and include stops in key primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Politico reported Monday night that Steyer’s presidential “preamble,” as his team is calling it, also includes a six-figure Internet ad buy across various social media platforms, as well as a full-page spread in USA Today. If you stayed in a Holiday Inn Express Monday night, Tom Steyer wants to let you know what he thinks about America.
The ad that @TomSteyer ran in USA Today this morning that is about what he thinks Democrats should be talking about in 2020, as he nears a decision on whether he’ll be talking about 2020 himself pic.twitter.com/NVEkAFtlvL
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) November 20, 2018
The California-based former hedge fund manager has long been involved in Democratic politics. In 2012, he left the investment world to found the NextGen America, an environmental advocacy group, and has since donated well over $100 million to liberal candidates. In October 2017, Steyer started the Need to Impeach initiative, amassing a groundswell of grassroots support while hitting the road to speak at a series of town halls. “We feel it’s important to stand up for the American democracy,” he told Rolling Stone in June about his drive to impeach President Trump. “It’s not much more complicated than that. We believe fighting against a reckless and lawless president is not something that will turn off voters. In fact, doing that kind of thing is the way that you build faith and trust. The way we see impeachment is: We are telling the truth about the most important political issue of the day.”
Many had speculated that the Need to Impeach movement could lead Steyer to run in 2020, and now it appears all but certain that he will be one of potentially dozens of politicians, business leaders, camera-friendly lawyers and God knows who else that will mount a campaign to move into the White House.
We’re standing by for Trump to tweet about how Steyer is a third-rate billionaire.