Steyer, Griswold Talk Vote Suppression (Elsewhere)

UPDATE: It’s been suggested, not unreasonably, that we should better acknowledge former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s large donations in support of Democratic campaigns–including a $50 million pledge this month to House Democrats following the vote to impeach President Donald Trump. Bloomberg and the other wealthy self-funding candidates in the primary have faced criticism over the potential diversion of scarce resources away from more viable Democratic priorities, and Bloomberg’s big check undeniably blunts some of that criticism–like Tom Steyer’s own $50 million pledge to youth GOTV efforts mentioned below.

We apologize if we unfairly slighted the efforts of any billionaire. All billionaires matter.

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Tom Steyer.

Colorado Public Radio’s Anthony Cotton reports on a town hall yesterday hosted by longshot self-funding Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer–and although Steyer’s signature issue remains human-caused climate change,

[S]peaking with about 100 voters Sunday in a Denver union hall, the environment barely came up.

Instead, the California hedge fund billionaire spoke about voter suppression across the country, and why race relations should be a greater focal point for the people running for the White House. At one point, on the topic of gun violence, he stopped the conversation to console a woman whose son was killed in a 2018 shooting…

Steyer appeared with Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Omar Montgomery, the runner-up to Mike Coffman in the 2019 Aurora mayoral election. Griswold also sponsored a town hall earlier in December with another Democratic presidential candidate, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Wherever Tom Steyer winds up in the Democratic presidential primary–here’s our interview with Steyer from August shortly after he got in the race–the $50 million Steyer has pledged to youth voter mobilization efforts nationwide in 2020 is a huge investment in turnout that will undeniably benefit Democratic candidates up and down the ticket. In contrast to a certain other self-funding billionaire who came lately to the already stratified Democratic primary field, Steyer deserves credit for spending money on the common defense instead of, you know, pure hubris.

With respect to voter suppression, Colorado’s system is a model for facilitating access to the franchise, which is the exact opposite of the intent of Byzantine election laws in so many other states. Colorado’s combination of mail ballots and same-day voter registration removes fundamental roadblocks to voting that are used every election in other states to suppress “undesired” turnout. As a result Colorado’s voter turnout is consistently in the top couple of states. Absurd disinformation notwithstanding, Colorado’s success in making the vote accessible over repeated elections and Secretaries of State from both parties simply leaves no excuse for the rest of the country to not adopt similar laws. In the end, the only reason not to adopt Colorado’s election model is if you benefit politically from vote suppression.

That’s a message we’d be happy to see carried to the four corners of the land. Starting with Georgia.

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  1. Arvadonian1Arvadonian1 says:

    I'm not exactly a Bloomberg fan (don't like him at all, in fact), but let's not gloss over his $10 million donation to House Democrats after the impeachment vote…and his $100 million pledge to fund anti-Trump ads in swing states (independent of his campaign).  He also donated over $100 million last election cycle to help Dems win the House.  He's been quite generous with his money…

    From what I can see, Steyer's, Bloomberg's, and Yang's campaigns are all ego trips.

  2. ParkHill says:

    I think I saw it suggested somewhere that Bloomberg and Steyer should pay the bills owed by ex-felons in Florida. That would add a huge number of Democrats to a single state. 

  3. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    Bash away, bash away all. 

    I'm not backing either Steyer or Bloomberg, and can't imagine doing so in the Colorado primary.  I will be stunned if either one gets anywhere close to the nomination.

    But … as WAPO says:

    Bloomberg… has blanketed political committees, liberal interest groups, swing-state cities and key politicians with his money, donating more than $8 billion to philanthropy over his lifetime and hundreds of millions more to political causes. He ranks as a top donor to influential groups like the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and the League of Conservation Voters.

    Over $90 million in political donations for the 2018 election.

    In the 2020 cycle:

    Not counting the unknown cost of his [Bloomberg’s] campaign staff or overhead, he has already committed more than $95 million to broadcast ads for his campaign, $100 million to digital spending against Trump in swing states, $15 million or more for voter registration and protection efforts, and the $10 million he has given to defend Democratic House members deemed vulnerable because of the party’s impeachment effort.

  4. Still, think of the hundreds of more millions they could have spent on GOTV, voter registration, fighting voter suppression, and attacking the Republicans on the fragile remains of their former strengths. If only it wasn't about the ego.

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