Tom Steyer Will Run for President and Plans to Spend $100 Million on His Bid

Tom Steyer, appearing in Des Moines in January, has focused on pushing for the impeachment of President Trump.

But Mr. Steyer brings...

But Mr. Steyer brings to the race a contempt for traditional politicians and a sprawling confidence in himself that make him at least a faint echo of the current president. By embracing impeachment as a personal cause[1] during the midterm elections, ignoring the entreaties of Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Steyer claimed a role as one of his party’s chief provocateurs.

It is not clear how that attitude might translate into a primary campaign. Other Democrats have stretched and strained the boundaries of conventional party politics, but mainly with their ideas — demanding bigger, more daring policies to address economic inequality or education, or racial justice or the degradation of the environment.

Mr. Steyer, by contrast, has yet to translate his mélange of political attitudes and priorities into a consistent platform. That may have to change quickly if he is to be a serious contender for the nomination.

Mr. Steyer has one other trait in common with Mr. Trump: He is willing to spar directly with members of his own party, for a combination of strategic and impulsive reasons.

After spending years as a donor to mainstream Democratic Party leaders, Mr. Steyer veered in a sharply confrontational direction after the 2016 election, trashing the “establishment” and taking aim at individual party elders.

[Which Democrats are leading the 2020 presidential race this week?][2]

Toying with a run for the Senate, he publicly blasted Senator Dianne Feinstein[3], the long-serving moderate Democrat, and endorsed a liberal challenger to oppose her. Crusading for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, Mr. Steyer used his personal advocacy group to apply pressure on powerful House committee chairmen, like Representatives Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts and Jerrold Nadler of New York.

Should Mr. Steyer bring that pugilistic stance to the presidential race, it could represent a major disruption in a campaign largely defined by the candidates’ aversion to conflict. Outside of recent criticism directed at Mr. Biden — most notably by Ms. Harris[4] — the Democrats have mostly shied away from direct confrontation.


  1. ^ impeachment as a personal cause (
  2. ^ leading the 2020 presidential race (
  3. ^ blasted Senator Dianne Feinstein (
  4. ^ most notably by Ms. Harris (

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