Daniel Turner: Tom Steyer wants to be your president -- But he's no green populist

Tom Steyer, the San Francisco hedge fund billionaire turned green activist, has spent years trying to become a household name. Many have seen his multi-million dollar quixotic television commercials calling for President Trump to be impeached. He’s saturated the cable news airwaves even after the Mueller report found no collusion and no obstruction.

But Tom Steyer’s extreme beliefs run much deeper than impeachment. For years, Steyer has used his fortune, estimated at $1.6 billion, to push radical environmental policies. Now he’s making a run for the White House.

“It’s true,” Tom Steyer blared on Twitter, “I’m running for President.”

STEYER PLEDGES TO SPEND $100M ON 2020 PRESIDENTIAL BID, ALREADY GOING UP WITH TV ADS

It’s the presidential campaign announcement no one was asking for. Both Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., welcomed Steyer into the race by saying the election shouldn’t be bought by billionaires.

That’s some change of heart for the man who funded today’s eco-left. Once they were so eager to woo Mr. Steyer into opening his piggybank that in 2014 Senate Democrats held an all-night speak-a-thon on climate change, his favorite subject. By 2016, Steyer became the largest individual Democratic donor in the country, pouring almost $100 million into left-wing causes and candidates.

Now Steyer is spending his money on his own campaign, but this has been his plan all along.

In 2013 his organization “NextGen America” sprung out of nowhere. The group billed itself as grassroots, but in reality, it was Steyer’s vehicle to advance his agenda across the country. Through NextGen, Steyer helped bankroll ballot initiatives in states like Arizona and Washington to influence energy policies to the tune of over $22 million – with the ultimate goal of effectively hiking energy prices on consumers.

In both 2016 and 2018, Steyer spent millions to force carbon taxes on Washington State. Experts estimated these would hit Washington families hard by reducing incomes by $3.2 billion, increasing energy costs, and hiking gas prices. Both ballot initiatives were defeated by double digits.

Steyer is bankrolling a presidential campaign with a fortune made on an industry he wants to eliminate. How is that message going to resonate with the millions of fossil fuel workers?

In 2018 Steyer used NextGen to target Arizona (another state where he does not live) spending almost $20 million on a ballot initiative to force “clean” energy mandates on the state. Experts at Arizona State University estimated the plan would have threatened over 500,000 jobs. Arizona voters (a state where they do live) rejected it by 37 points.

Such a resume should not inspire one to bring these ideas national as president. And yet, he’s running. The question is: why?

Each 2020 candidate embraces Steyer’s radical green agenda, and nearly all support the “Green New Deal." One candidate, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, has run his campaign almost exclusively on environmental issues. He’s gone nowhere.

Environmentalist voters already have plenty of (terrible) candidates to choose from. Steyer isn’t adding much but a boatload of cash. He’s already promised to spend $100 million on his run.

Here’s the thing about Steyer’s fortune – it’s steeped in hypocrisy.

Steyer might claim to be an environmentalist, but if you peek at his finances, you find a fortune made in fossil fuels. The guy was literally a coal and oil baron. His hedge fund, Farallon Capital Management, invested in coal in Asia and pipelines in North America.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with investing in energy. Energy powers the modern world. It makes every technological marvel we take for granted possible, and it provides good-paying jobs across the country.

But the hypocrisy is infuriating. While blasting coal in America, Steyer invests in coal in China. While denigrating fossil fuels he profits off wise investments in them. He’s fine with coal miners in China, but not in Ohio or Pennsylvania.

Steyer is bankrolling a presidential campaign with a fortune made on an industry he wants to eliminate. How is that message going to resonate with the millions of fossil fuel workers?

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Today’s eco-left will recoil when they learn the truth about Tom Steyer. It’s only a matter of time. After wasting millions on failed candidates, failed policies failed ballot initiatives, and failed impeachment commercials, a failed presidential campaign will hopefully finish off Steyer’s political ambition for good.

A $100 million self-funded campaign cannot repaint the billionaire as a green populist. His fellow candidates will attack his fossil fuel wealth viciously, and voters in every state will reject his hypocrisy and coastal condescension. But he may achieve his dream and become a household name.

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