Tom Steyer, is a billionaire ex-hedge fund manager who made his first appearance in the Democratic debates on Tuesday night, Oct 15, 2019 in Ohio. He eventually dropped out of the race after spending more than $200 million of his own money.
Tom Steyer is estimated to be worth about $1.8 billion after starting Farallon Capital in January 1986 and growing the hedge fund into a $20+ billion fund. Tom Steyer was one of the pioneers in convincing college endowments and other institutions to invest in hedge funds, after he convinced the Yale endowment to investment some money with him. Tom sold his entire stake in 2012.
Since retiring, Tom has been extremely active in politics and started the Need to Impeach movement back in 2017, long before the official impeachment process was initiated in 2019.
Tom Steyer, is an avid supporter of protecting the climate, which is great for people who think long-term. But many detractors have felt that focusing on climate change as a leading political issue is a luxury for mainly the wealthy in America.
Instead of focusing on climate change, Democratic voters feel more strongly about more pressing issues such as affordable healthcare, job security, universal childcare, and wage income growth.
The 62-year-old Tom Steyer has portrayed himself as a progressive outsider, calling for measures like decriminalizing illegal border crossings and expanding the Supreme Court.
A Successful First Democratic Debate
During the October 15 Democratic debates, he successfully showed a multi-dimensional side to the American people by:
- Being supportive of a wealth tax on the top 0.1%
- Wanting to raise hell against big corporations who've bought this government
- Showed empathy for the opioid crisis
- Humor and camaraderie by joining his fellow Democrats in wanting to impeach trump
- Emphasizing his business acumen to run the country better and beat back big business
No longer is Tom Steyer seen as just a billionaire who is running mainly on climate change issues. The fact that he started the Need to Impeach movement two years before the actual impeachment process has given Tom a lot of credibility.
Tom Steyer's Headwinds
Before the debate on Tuesday night, Mr. Steyer had a national polling average of about 1 percent. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was leading the pack, at 26 percent.
One of the biggest problems Tom Steyer faces is that he is a rich, white male with a pedigree and background similar to President Trump. Tom’s father was a partner at the prestigious law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell. Tom went to boarding school at Philips Academy Exeter and then attended Yale University where he was captain of the soccer. He then went on to get his MBA at Stanford University.
As someone who plans to spend $100 million on his presidential campaign, people view Tom Steyer buying his way into power.
But observers also noted that his profile, in some ways, lined up with Mr. Trump’s: a rich and confrontational outsider making a seemingly sudden decision to run for president.
Tom acknowledges the similarities between he and President Trump, but he also told the New York Times that “the similarities would disintegrate “if you look at who I am, what I’ve done, what I stand for.””
Tom Steyer Net Worth
Although Tom's net worth is conservatively estimated at $1.6 billion as of 4Q2019, he doesn't come across as a flashy person. He drives a used Honda Accord and flies economy class.
Tom has also signed Warren Buffet's giving pledge, which encourages signees to give away at least half their fortunes to charitable causes during life or after death.
Tom Steyer's Chances For Becoming President
After the October 15 debate, my guess is that Tom Steyer will pick up more support. He came across as well-spoken and likable. By acknowledging Bernie Sander's attack on billionaires during the debate, he also disarmed a lot of haters.
It's very hard to see Tom become the Democratic Presidential nominee given Joe Biden and Elizabeth Sander's leads. But at the end of the day, Tom got on national TV to deliver messages he's passionate about.
If you would like me to ask Tom any follow up questions, let me know. I see him at least every other week on the tennis courts here in San Francisco.
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