Monday, September 16, 2019

2020 Challenger Lineup: Tom Steyer

Okay, this should for real the last one of these I'll need to do because entering the race this late would be weird. Even if someone does enter unless they're like already a celebrity or are interesting for some reason I'm probably not going to bother profiling them because at that point it's definitely just a political stunt.

Tom Steyer joined the race in July, hence why you haven't seen him in the debates (not that you were looking) but apparently has already reached the thresholds necessary to be in the October debates as another white guy whose name you will not remember.

As for what he does, he's a billionaire hedge fund manager who has been described as a liberal activist and environmentalist.

You know what would make Tom stand apart in this race? Donate so much money to environmental and other causes that he loses his billionaire status. Just donate a shit ton of money all at once and be like "see I'm perfectly fine, fellow rich white dudes, stop pretending that being taxed will literally murder you." That's a free tip, Tom.

Steyer is considered to be a philanthropist and has already given quite a bit of money away. According to Forbes, he's given $193 million away over some period of time to three of his own foundations, which I guess counts? Though like how does that work with taxes. Does he get to write all of those donations off even though he's kind of giving the money to himself? What are the chances that he's getting kickbacks from those foundations? I am highly suspicious of all rich people, if you hadn't noticed.

Still, that number is 98% of all the charitable donations given by all the Democratic candidates combined as of August 14, which really makes me side-eye everyone else. I mean I get that he's a billionaire and $193 million is just 12% of Steyer's net worth but the rest of you are not exactly poor.

I dunno. I'm not a mathmagician. However, it is nice to see that Steyer took that Bill Gates pledge to give away half of his wealth in his lifetime instead of just passing it along to his kids.

Anyway, Steyer's political experience is definitely lacking. He was considered a couple times for appointments by the Obama administration but was never chosen for some reason. Maybe they didn't want to look like the kind of administration who gives appointments to their most prolific fundraisers, which I get.

He also was the one who created and funded NextGen America, an environmentalist PAC whose name I recognized. Plus he spent millions on ads calling for Donald Trump to be impeached. I don't know if that's actually a point in his favor because it kind of seems like a waste of money but also fuck Donald Trump, so. Steyer was also staunchly opposed to the Keystone pipeline and "gave $41 million to create the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford University."

In terms of the issues, Steyer is not particularly interesting, in part because he's super vague about them. He says he supports universal healthcare but disagrees with some unnamed specifics of the Medicare for All bill and so doesn't support it. His website says he supports free public education all the way through college. He says he supports a "living wage" but doesn't say what he thinks that is. He does mention environmental racism but has fuck all to say about women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights, disability rights, police brutality, and many other key issues. How am I supposed to give him a poorly-though-out letter grade if I don't know hardly anything about him?

I'm gonna have to give him a D after points taken off for late entry, not enough info on the issues, and a lot taken off for being a billionaire. But I'll be happy to change that if his billionaire status changes. You hear me, Tom???

Haha just kidding I'll probably have forgotten he exists by tomorrow.

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