by Chris White
Billionaire Tom Steyer suggested Tuesday Democrats who are hesitant to jump aboard his impeachment campaign are at risk of normalizing what he believes is President Donald Trump’s bad behavior.
Democrats who maintain a wide berth from campaigns to impeach Trump are alienating a large swath of liberal voters, Steyer told Politico on Tuesday. Rebuking the campaign also places vulnerable Democrats on the wrong side of history, Steyer said, responding to his crusade to oust the president.
“If you look at the civil rights movement, the pushback was not, ‘You’re not telling the truth;’ the pushback was, ‘We’re dealing with it in time. Stand down so we can deal with it in tie [sic],” said Steyer, a former hedge fund manager who poured tens of millions of dollars into Democratic coffers over the past six years.
Steyer, who often suggests without evidence Trump conspired with Russia to win the election, used various social media platforms in October 2017 to launch a “need to impeach” Trump movement. More than 5 million people have signed his petition so far, but House Democrats think the wealthy activist is wearing out his welcome.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for instance, called an impeachment campaign impractical in March and suggested it distracts from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and could jeopardize Democratic efforts to take back Congress in 2018.
His tour to boot Trump kicked off less than a week after his political group, NextGen America, announced a $30 million campaign structured around pushing young people into voting. Steyer is forging ahead with his effort despite lacking evidence of the president’s wrong-doing.
“The Founders gave us impeachment to answer a reckless, lawless, and dangerous president; and every day that his behavior is accepted, every day that you don’t oppose it, it becomes enshrined as the way things are done. You have normalized this presidency; you have normalized his behavior,” Steyer explained.
Democratic leaders worry whispering “impeachment” threatens to make swing House districts unwinnable while all-but erasing their opportunity to retake control of the House. Republicans, meanwhile, appear overjoyed with Steyer’s push. The National Republican Campaign Committee is licking its chops at the prospect of accusing Democrats of overreaching ahead of the mid-term elections in November.
“Tom Steyer is stoking the flames of this ludicrous progressive pipe dream, further complicating Nancy Pelosi’s plan to regain the majority,” NRCC press secretary Jesse Hunt said. Hunt and his fellow Republicans might have a reason to celebrate if Steyer keeps beating his drum, recent polls indicate.
Nearly 47 percent of registered voters say they would definitely oppose a candidate who promised impeachment, while 42 percent would definitely vote for one, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted in April. Calls for impeachment track at higher levels among the younger voters whom Steyer has courted over the past year, the polls showed. Young people are not traditionally reliable voters.
Young adult voters between the ages of 18 through 24 consistently voted at lower rates than all other age groups in every presidential election since 1962, according to a 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau. On average, less than half of young voters actually make it to the polls for a national presidential election, the bureau’s voting data also shows.
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