‘If Trump gets re-elected it’s a disaster, full stop. If he even makes it to 2020, it’s a disaster…’
(Christine Mai-Duc, Los Angeles Times) San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer—a plutocrat who some would contend ranks second only to George Soros in terms of his dark-money contributions to questionable liberal activism—took the biggest steps yet toward a potential 2020 presidential bid.
On Tuesday, he began by laying out a policy platform and announcing a tour of five key primary states.
Steyer, who left his hedge fund company in 2012 to focus on political endeavors such as a protracted effort to impeach President Donald Trump, joins at least three other Californians who are widely believed to be running.
In an announcement, Steyer said he planned to hold town hall meetings in five states, starting with a Dec. 4 event in the early primary state of South Carolina, where he expects to discuss voting rights. That will be followed by an appearance in Fresno, Calif., in mid-December focused on clean air and water as well as stops in New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada.
Full-page ads in newspapers across the country will also lay out the rest of his “5 Rights” platform, which includes education, a living wage and health care.
“These five rights should be at the core of the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform,” Steyer said in a statement, “but this is bigger than any political party.”
Three other California Democrats have suggested—either in actions or words—that they’re potential 2020 contenders. On the trail in October, Sen. Kamala Harris hinted that she’d consider a presidential bid after the midterms. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti toured early primary states to campaign for Democrats in House races. And San Francisco Bay Area Rep. Eric Swalwell, reported to be running, has visited Iowa more than a dozen times.
A spokeswoman said Steyer’s priority is ensuring Democrats commit to the priorities he’s laying out, regardless of who the nominee is.
Steyer’s announcement comes on the heels of moderate victories for Democrats in the midterm election, although they did not amount to the “blue wave” many expected and were smaller gains than what the GOP made in the first midterms of presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Steyer spent more than $100 million in the midterms, most of it through his political advocacy organization NextGen America.
He also invested money in boosting youth turnout and in Andrew Gillum’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in Florida.
Steyer had previously considered running for U.S. Senate and governor in California, but decided not to seek office in the 2018 election.
In an interview days after the midterm election, Steyer said he was still seriously considering running for president in 2020 but remained coy about when he’d make a decision and insisted he would press on with his campaign to impeach President Donald Trump.
He has poured millions of dollars into the petition campaign, complete with television ads starring himself.
“If Trump gets re-elected it’s a disaster, full stop. If he even makes it to 2020, it’s a disaster,” Steyer said. “I’m going to try to personally figure out what is the most effective thing I can do.”
(c)2018 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.