Tom Steyer Is Using An Unusual Campaign Message On College Campuses

REUTERS/Mike Blake

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Billionaire Tom Steyer is urging young college students in California to get out and vote in November or risk letting “arrogant, rich white men” run the country for the next two years.

Steyer, a 61-year-old former hedge fund manager, canvassed the Cal State Fullerton campus in California recently to get young people out to vote in the midterm elections. His campaign pitch is an unusual one given his demographic.

“You can change this world, or it can be run by a bunch of arrogant, entitled, rich white old men,” Steyer told 18-year-old Marina Lieu after she said she wasn’t interested in voting. His head dropped after she walked away.

Steyer is spending roughly $33 million across the country to get young people out to the polls on Nov. 6 as Democrats angle to recapture the House following several years of Republican gains. He’s shoveling millions into the campaign while also hinting at possibly running for president in 2020.

Steyer’s using his vas political organizing network to canvas hundreds of campuses. His political action group – NextGen America – for instance, has almost 800 organizers working in more than 400 college campuses in Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

He’s convinced young people will hurry to the ballot box if they are provided the right message. Data suggest Steyer’s play for the youth vote might be a long stretch.

Millennials aged 18 to 34 cast ballots at lower rates than any other age group in every midterm election for the last four decades, according to census data. Fewer than 1-in-4 young adults voted during the last midterm election in 2014.

“That’s a pretty low return on investment,” Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, a Tufts University expert on the youth vote, told The Los Angeles Times on Monday. “Once that perception is settled, it’s really hard to change strategies around it.”

Political and climate activist Tom Steyer greets a demonstrator as he attends a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) outside Issa’s office in Vista, California, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Steyer, a major financier of liberal causes, is also directing another $110 million toward building out Need to Impeach, a project designed to prompt Democrats into impeaching President Donald Trump. He doubled his initial $20 million investment in Need to Impeach to $40 million.

Many Democrats believe his effort to oust a sitting president is doing more harm than good.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for instance, suggested in March that an impeachment campaign distracts from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and could jeopardize Democratic efforts to take back Congress. (RELATED: Steyer’s Impeach Trump Campaign Scrounges For Support On Long Road Trip)

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