May 18, 2017

Steyer Is Getting Tired Of Wasting His Money On Other People, Will Now Likely Waste It On Himself

If you’ve seen some of Tom Steyer’s political ads in recent years, you’ve learned two important facts about the billionaire. The first fact is that Steyer loves to waste money on ads featuring himself speaking to camera. The second fact is that Steyer has the charisma of a wet towel on a cold day. Apparently though, Steyer has only internalized lesson one because The Hill is reporting that Steyer is increasingly likely to run for governor in 2018:

“Wealthy environmental activist Tom Steyer is taking steps toward joining the race to become California’s next governor, fielding a survey that tests his strengths and weaknesses in an increasingly crowded Democratic field. Three Democratic sources with knowledge of Steyer’s poll said the retired hedge fund manager’s political team is querying whether California voters know Steyer, and whether they are leery of electing someone with no political experience to the state’s highest office.”

As Steyer ponders the move from being a checkbook to a candidate, a look back at how his candidates and causes have done is instructive. Any fair reading of Steyer’s political efforts to date show him to be perhaps the biggest failure in the history of modern politics. In the 2016 and 2014 cycles, two historically bad elections for Democrats, Steyer spent over $160 million dollars with very little to show for it:

“In terms of bang for the buck, there was no bigger loser in the November elections than liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, who beat his own individual federal spending record but failed to break .500 when it came to backing candidates. The San Francisco hedge fund manager sank $87.6 million into Democratic candidates and causes, making him the leading individual funder of the 2016 election cycle and easily surpassing the $75.4 million he spent on federal races in 2014, when he was also the top donor, according to OpenSecrets.”

Even more indicative of Steyer’s legendary ineffectiveness is how little his cash has moved the environmental cause down the field. The Keystone pipeline is moving forward, Steyer’s protest efforts in Texas failed, and his NextGen Climate group is shutting down chapter after chapter:

“The failed Trans Pecos pipeline protest is not the only environmentalist group to shutter operations. Tom Styer’s NextGen Climate group has been quietly closing its state-level chapters. Although NextGen Climate’s homepage is still available, Facebook pages for its campaigns in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Iowa, and Ohio were all closed down. Meanwhile, on the NextGen homepage, links to the state pages are dead.

Looking at the totality of Steyer’s efforts, the only group that has benefited from Tom Steyer’s entry into politics are the political consultants cashing Steyer’s checks. If those same consultants talk Steyer into becoming a candidate in California’s expensive gubernatorial race, we could see a level of money wasted by Steyer that will make his 2016 and 2014 efforts look like a trip to CVS.