Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer unveiled his version of a Democratic platform Tuesday, launched a six-figure ad buy, and scheduled several town halls across the nation, seemingly positioning himself for a 2020 presidential run.
Steyer, who for months has led an effort to impeach Trump with his organizations NextGen America and Need to Impeach, unveiled a list of “5 Rights,” calling on Democrats to “Take a Stand” ahead of 2020 and “champion the people’s positive vision of the future.”
The rights include: “the right to an equal vote in a fair democracy; the right to clean air and clean water; the right to learn, from pre-K through college and advanced skills training; the right to earn a living wage; and the right to health,” according to his website.
“These five rights should be at the core of the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform—but this is bigger than any political party,” Steyer said in a statement. “These rights are fundamental to our shared belief in the promise of America, a promise of the freedom and power to pursue our dreams and earn a fair share of this country’s vast wealth.”
He added: “A hostile takeover of our democracy by large corporations and their enablers in politics has eroded that promise, and we must act to reclaim that power and put it back in the hands of the American people.”
Steyer has not fully committed to taking on Trump in 2020 but has been rumored to be considering launching a presidential run. His moves this week signal a new level of seriousness.
On Tuesday, Steyer launched a six-figure digital ad buy on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, along with a sponsored full-page ad in USA Today, and Gannett newspapers across the country. The ads are focused on the “5 Rights” platform.
A spokesperson for Steyer also confirmed that the former hedge-fund manager will host a series of town hall-style conversations with local leaders and Americans to discuss the platform. The first town hall will take place next month in Charleston, S.C., where he will discuss the right to an equal vote.
Steyer has been fully engaged in politics, investing $120 million in grassroots organizing during the midterm election season to elect progressive candidates across the country.
But at least three dozen Democrats have floated possible bids to take on Trump in 2020—more than double the crowded field of 17 Republican candidates who fought in 2016 for the chance to succeed then-President Barack Obama. Several of them have begun making clear campaign moves, while others have simply said they are contemplating a run.
The wide-open nature of the Democratic field has drawn different types of candidates, as well as familiar, expected faces like former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
A number of House Democrats have also shown interest in a 2020 presidential campaign — including Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.; Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii; Joe Kennedy, D-Mass.; Seth Moulton, D-Mass.; and Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, who was just defeated in his Senate race against Republican Ted Cruz. Maryland Rep. John Delaney has already announced his plans to run.
Outside Washington, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe; and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have not shut the door on a run. Businessman Mark Cuban and the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, have also expressed interest.
Former Obama officials, like Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro have all floated possible runs.
And last week, that list expanded further to include Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who announced he was considering running for president. West Virginia State Sen. Richard Ojeda, a retired U.S. Army major who lost his House election last week, said he would run for the Democratic nomination.
And yet again, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's name has been mentioned as a possible candidate, after former advisors for the twice-defeated presidential candidate have floated her potential candidacy in 2020.