When I went to YouTube to search for Tom Steyer’s debate performance, it was noteworthy that he wasn’t listed at the top of the recommendations in search until I got to the first “e” in his last name. YouTuber Tom Stockdale was the first option until the “e.” When I finally found a video of his comments about climate change during the Democratic debate last night, I started watching. Sadly, I wasn’t watching for him. I wanted to confirm Bernie Sanders responded to him by saying climate change needed a resolution within 8-9 years, which he did.
While I was watching the video, my wife walked in and asked, “Who’s that?” Exactly.
Steyer wanted to hammer home the fact that he’s the only candidate who has as his top priority addressing climate change. All of the Democratic candidates claim to be green to one degree or another. Most will acknowledge that climate change is the biggest threat we face. But only Steyer will address this threat as his primary campaign promise.
Here’s the thing. Even if he dismisses those (including me) who do not believe the world is ending as a result of climate catastrophe in the next decade (or two, or ten), even progressive and left-leaning voters who believe in the imminent danger of man-made climate change aren’t ready to vote for it as their primary issue. Since all of the Democratic candidates claim some allegiance to the green movement, most climate change activists will be happy with just about any of them. They may be happier with some over others, but few are going to vote for Steyer because he prioritizes it.
Last night’s debate was his shot at pulling himself out from the bottom of the top ten and MSNBC did not oblige him. The only candidate who received less time was Andrew Yang, who for some reason gets the shaft from the media every time. I can’t really put my finger on why, especially considering he’d be the best candidate to pull center-right voters away from President Trump in the general election. But I digress.
This presidential race, as every presidential race since the Vietnam War, comes down to the economy. Climate change may be important to some, but it’s not important enough to build a presidential campaign around. There just aren’t enough people who put it at the top of their immediate priority list even if it may be at the top of their long-term priority list. What’s important to Americans is feeding their families, gaining prosperity, defending out liberties, and remaining safe. Those on the right usually put liberties over safety while those on the left flip-flop the two, but when it comes to the driving force for votes, personal economic well-being is still the top consideration.
Steyer may be a decent and passionate guy, but his billions of dollars will not turn into tangible votes if he’s going to keep pushing climate change as his top issue. For the record, my wife recognized Yang immediately when he spoke.
It’s less of a credit to Tom Steyer and more of an indictment against the clear mainstream media bias against Andrew Yang that the former received more talk time than the latter in the debate. The #YangGang should be furious right about now.
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