Democrats have a big Tom Steyer problem
Tom Steyer, the fanatic Trump-hating San Francisco billionaire who has been a generous Democrat donor, is boxing in the party as it attempts to pull off a normal midterm strengthening of the opposition party's congressional representation. The much touted blue wave already is running into a shrinking Dem advantage in the generic congressional ballot, and the gray-haired leaders of the party realize that promising impeachment should the party gain a House majority is turning off middle-of-the-road voters who are enjoying the economic prosperity that has accompanied President Donald Trump's tax and regulatory reforms.
The gerontocracy running the Democratic Party has a tricky task in keeping up enthusiasm from the #Resistance-besotted activist base while hoping to keep a lid on their visibility to voters whose mouths are not flecked with as much spittle.
Now comes Steyer, who, according to the AP, "is spending $40 million on his 'Need To Impeach' roadshow, with advertising and town halls around the country."
"It is the most important issue in the United States right now," Steyer tells a crowd, nibbling on hors d'oeuvres in Atlanta before a wide-ranging discussion of "high crimes and misdemeanors" and Trump's fitness to handle nuclear launch codes. "It's about lawlessness and danger and urgency."
But in sounding his impeachment alarms, the liberal, green-energy guru is also serving up an opportunity for Republicans to portray Democrats as having no agenda other than to undo the 2016 election.
Exactly. But good luck telling someone to shut up when:
Steyer and his wife, Kat, live in Pelosi's congressional district, and the couple hosted a June 2017 dinner for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The event raised $593,500, officials said, including the couple's personal contribution of $67,800.
One of the secrets to Nancy Pelosi's staying power as leader of the House Dems is her ability to raise big money from her San Francisco and California wealthy donor base – the people who pal around with the Steyers and move in the same self-congratulatory, virtue-signaling milieu, where you can be a greedy billionaire yet still believe yourself to be a righteous warrior (and get plenty of media and elite support as you hold this pose).
The big problem for the Democrats' ambitions to keep the impeachment talks away from the voters is that the reward for their billionaire (and mere multi-millionaire) donors comes from public display of their radicalism. Steyer in particular fancies himself an oracle.
Steyer is having fun and saving his soul (he believes) by this clown show, and I doubt very much that whispers about problems with centrist voters in Pennsylvania will sway him.
The bigger problem is that the entire party base is still acting emotionally out of shock over the 2016 election. There is no time to reverse the #Resistance momentum. And you can be sure that President Trump is going to tweet and talk and act in a way calculated to fan the flames of their fanaticism.
I eagerly await his choice of an adjective to attach to Tom Steyer's name.
Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Green via Flickr.