After a third-place finish in the South Carolina Democratic primary, billionaire coal investor-turned-green activist Tom Steyer (D-Impeachment) announced he would drop out of the race. Sources close to Steyer broke the news to various outlets shortly before Steyer spoke in South Carolina. Like former Vice President Joe Biden, Steyer placed all his hopes on the black voters in South Carolina. He made his name spending millions advocating for climate alarmism and impeachment before joining a field crowded with more compelling candidates.
“Honestly, I can’t see a path where I can win the presidency,” the billionaire admitted. He entered the race late — in July 2019 — but spent nearly $24 million on television ads in South Carolina alone. Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) beat him by a wide margin, with Biden at nearly 50 percent, Sanders at about 20 percent, and Steyer lagging at 11 percent.
The billionaire had launched his campaign by demonizing opposition to liberal causes. In the years leading up to his race, he poured millions of dollars into the climate change issue, founding the NextGen Climate super PAC (now called NextGen America), which contributed about $74 million to Democratic causes in the 2014 midterms. Steyer also advocated for Trump’s impeachment, organizing eight million members for a Need to Impeach campaign.
Indeed, in the last few debates, he seemed little more than a cheerleader for his fellow Democrats, insisting that any of them would be a much better president than Trump. He echoed that same theme in his concession speech.
“Every Democrat is a million times better than Trump. Trump is a disaster,” Steyer said. He also condemned Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as a “disaster.” He pledged he would spend more money to help elect Democrats and target Republicans.
Tom Steyer says he will "of course" keep working on defeating President Trump, even after ending his campaign: "Every Democrat is a million times better than Trump. Trump is a disaster." https://t.co/h0N1pR80WS pic.twitter.com/NlA0ndpYHp
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 1, 2020
Steyer will be backing his behind out of the race after thoroughly embarrassing himself at a party. He danced to “Back That Azz Up” with the rapper Juvenile.
— Rep. Jeremy Faison (@JeremyFaison4TN) March 1, 2020
Through February 25, Steyer had spent about $186 million on ads, according to the tracking firm Advertising Analytics. He may not even win one single delegate despite spending all that cash.
This bodes ill for Mike Bloomberg, who launched an even more last-minute campaign, spending even more than Steyer. But these billionaire Democrats seem to be realizing an important truth: money can’t buy elections.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.