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Democratic Candidate Tom Steyer Has Qualified For The Next Debate17:09
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Democratic presidential candidate and businessman Tom Steyer speaks during the Climate Forum at Georgetown University, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)
Democratic presidential candidate and businessman Tom Steyer speaks during the Climate Forum at Georgetown University, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

2020 Democratic candidate Tom Steyer makes the case why he should be the next president of the United States.

Guest

Tom Steyer, Democratic presidential candidate. Billionaire founder of the investment firm Farallon. (@TomSteyer)

Interview Highlights

On his decision to pursue a presidential run

"The reason that I decided to run, was I listened to the debates. And I didn't think anybody was really leveling with the American people. There were a lot of discussions of, 'Which is the right Green New Deal, which is the right health care plan, which is the right educational plan?' But, really, we have a basic issue in the United States right now, we have a broken government in Washington, D.C. It's been taken over by corporations. They've bought the government. None of those plans is really available to happen, until we break that corporate stranglehold; until we return government to the people government of, by and for the people. Really, none of those plans can happen.

"And I decided, we have to address the truth with the American people. Everybody knows that nothing's getting done in Washington, D.C. What are we going to do about that? Because if we break the corporate stranglehold, then, in fact, we're going to get all of the things that we want. We're going to get health care as a right. We're going to get an educational system that our kids deserve. We're going to get a living wage. We're going to get clean air and clean water. But, we have to break this corporate stranglehold, if, in fact, we're going to get back to any kind of effective government."

"We have a basic issue in the United States right now, we have a broken government in Washington, D.C. It's been taken over by corporations."

Tom Steyer

On how he would accomplish the goals of his candidacy

"It's three steps, really. Part of it is to call it out. You know, we have to agree — I think Americans understand that this government is broken, and that corporations have bought it. So, the first thing is to say, 'This is the point. This is what I'm running on. I want a mandate for action.' So, that's No. 1. No. 2, we can use some of the existing institutions of government — like the Federal Election Commission — to make sure that there's transparency; to make sure that people who use dark money are substantially punished — not the slap on the wrist they get now. And, then, we need some structural changes. And I've proposed four. Term limits in Congress — and the Senate — of 12 years. A national referendum, so that if the Congress won't do something that the American people want, that we can put it on the ballot, and the American people can pass it, the way that happens in 26 states around the country [26 states have statewide initiative or veto referendum processes]. Make it easy to vote and end voter suppression, that's No. 3. And the last one is, corporations are not people. I know that the Supreme Court has said that they are, but I think everybody knows that they're not. And we need to get that legal fiction out of the way, and take away their political rights as if they were American citizens, which they are not."

"My attitude is, if I'm not the candidate, I will support the Democratic candidate 100%, whoever he or she is."

Tom Steyer

On supporting any eventual Democratic nominee

"I've said I would never run as a third party [candidate], that I would only run as a Democrat, because I am a Democrat. And I would never want to take the chance — which I believe could be real. But, I would not want to take any chance whatsoever of reelecting Mr. Trump. My attitude is, if I'm not the candidate, I will support the Democratic candidate 100%, whoever he or she is. I believe that I'm telling the truth. I'm trying to speak as directly as I can on what I believe are the absolutely critical points of politics today, of the future of the United States, of the future of the planet. But, if the voters decide to back someone else, I will support that person. I would never want to split the Democratic vote by a scintilla."

From The Reading List

New York Times: "Tom Steyer Qualifies for October Debates, Bringing Field to 11" — "Tom Steyer, the billionaire and former hedge fund investor turned impeachment activist, became the 11th Democratic presidential candidate to qualify for the October debates on Sunday after a new poll showed him with 2 percent support in Nevada.

"To make the cut, candidates must procure donations from 130,000 people and earn 2 percent support in four qualifying polls. Mr. Steyer fell one poll short of qualifying for the third Democratic debate in Houston this week. But the Democratic National Committee’s rules allow polls to carry over and count toward qualification for the fourth set of debates.

"With three qualifying polls already under his belt and the fourth published Sunday, Mr. Steyer has now secured a spot in the debates next month, scheduled for Oct. 15 and possibly Oct. 16, in a location to be announced in Ohio."

Politico: "How Tom Steyer would tackle gun violence" — "Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmental activist and liberal donor, announced Tuesday a suite of proposals to tackle gun violence as president.

"Steyer’s plan — made public on the two-year anniversary of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in U.S. history — includes a variety of reform measures popular among his fellow White House candidates and most national Democrats.

"Steyer also touts his work last year helping to mobilize young voters around the issue of gun violence prevention, and criticizes the special interests he claims are inhibiting common-sense solutions, including the influential National Rifle Association."

Yahoo! Finance: "This Democratic presidential candidate would tax himself $16 million" — "At least three Democrats running for president want to tax the wealth of millionaires and billionaires. But only one of them would pay the tax himself.

"Tom Steyer, the former hedge fund manager who’s running for president, would impose a 1% annual tax on wealth above $32 million, which is the cutoff point for the top .01% of Americans. Steyer himself falls in that category.

"Forbes pegs Steyer’s net worth at $1.6 billion, while Bloomberg says it’s $3.1 billion. Whatever the number, he’d take a hit under his own wealth tax. Under the lower figure, Steyer would owe an annual surtax of around $16 million. Under the higher figure, it’d be around $31 million.

"That’s more money than most people will ever see. But Steyer wouldn’t miss it. 'I don't think it will affect me at all,' Steyer told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview. 'I think I would go about my business in exactly the same way. It wouldn’t change my investment process, wouldn't change my thinking about anything.' "

This segment aired on October 7, 2019.

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