Billionaire impeachment activist Tom Steyer is undaunted by the lack of enthusiasm of Democrats in Congress to begin hearings to remove President Donald Trump from office.
Steyer was in Florida this week as part of his grass-roots efforts to press the issue, which he says has attracted a following of eight million people who have signed his ‘Need to Impeach’ petition, including 357,000 LatinX voters.
“What we’re pushing is to get hearings where the American people can hear the truth. This is information that is absolutely relevant and impeachable,” the 61-year-old former hedge fund manager said in an interview with Univision News. “We believe if the American people have the truth they’ll demand … that the president be held accountable,” he added.
But recent events appear to have undermined the impeachment cause. Last month House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (Dem-Ca), told The Washington Post that she was not “not for impeachment” unless there was compelling evidence and bipartisan support to go ahead. “I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it,” she said.
Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller report also seemed to strengthen the president by stating that the investigation failed to find collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Steyer remains convinced of a “ deliberate attempt by the Administration to hide the truth,” and he dismissed the lack of action on impeachment in Congress as traditional beltway politics. “We are not talking about people within the beltway. We’re talking about the American people,” he said.
Chicken and egg
“Democrats and Republicans may disagree about what they are hearing; that’s democracy. But the fact is we’re not getting the information and we can’t expect information to come out, or people’s attitudes to adjust, without hearings. It’s kind of a chicken and egg problem.”
Steyer launched Need to Impeach in October 2017 to rally people across the country who are demanding that Congress act to remove Trump from power. Steyer has invested almost $100 million on the movement, which has included national television ads and a public education campaign as well as targeting 43 key congressional districts needed to flip the U.S. House of Representatives during the midterm elections.
Of the 43, Need to Impeach says it helped flip 36 districts, including two in South Florida, representing an 84 percent success rate.
In January, Steyer announced he is investing all his time to the impeachment effort this year in an effort to push Congress to support Trump’s removal and convince 2020 presidential candidates to support impeachment. So far, most presidential candidates remain reluctant to touch the topic.
More broadly, Steyer says he plans to keep up his ‘NextGen’ get-out-the-vote operation targeting youths in key states such as Florida. According to NextGen’s elections analysis of Florida’s midterm elections in November, voters under the age of 40 went from casting 18 percent of the vote in 2014 to 24 percent last year, and at the same time supported Democratic candidates over Republicans by a 30-point margin. “It was a turnout election,” he said.
At the same time, 63 percent of young Florida voters who were registered by NextGen cast ballots, and substantial improvement over normally dismal youth voting turnout. “We are still on more than half of the campuses we were on and we plan to continue working throughout 2019,” he said.
LatinX voters organized by NextGen registered a 10 percent higher turnout that those not organized by Steyer’s group. Across ten states where they worked, turnout of LatinX voters reached 58 percent, compared to 48 percent where they were not present, he added. In Florida, LatinX turnout was 15 percent higher in districts where NextGen worked.