Democratic Billionaire Steyer Blows $325,000 A Day On Ads, Gets Nothing In Return

Oh the irony...

Tom Steyer, billionaire Trump-impeachment-pusher, has spent a stunning $12 million on digital and television ads in only six weeks - more than any other Democratic presidential candidate has spent all year - to drive his agenda for getting money out of politics.

“I am the outsider in this race,” Mr. Steyer said in an interview.

He described Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont as “part of the establishment” and asked whether the front-runner in the polls, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., really understood what this moment called for.

“The question really is for anybody running, including Vice President Biden, are you aware of how much has to change?”

However, after proclaiming "our democracy has been purchased" as he spends $325,000 a day for ads, it appears the softly-spoken former hedge fund investor will, thanks to the DNC's complicated (and some might say biased) rules, miss out on appearing at the next Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate.

The third round of debates (to be held on Sept 11th), doubled the qualifying threshold of the last two, requiring candidates reach 2% in 4 DNC-approved polls and draw 130,000 unique donors — including 400 donors in 20 different states.

Today is the final day to make the cut and it appears that Steyer is among those unable to qualify.

Source: RealClearPolitics.com

As Axios reports, these are the candidates who will be on stage:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders

  • Sen. Kamala Harris

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren

  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg

  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke

  • Sen. Cory Booker

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar

  • Andrew Yang

  • Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro

And these are the candidates who did not meet the qualifications for Houston:

  • Billionaire and activist Tom Steyer

  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

  • Mayor Wayne Messam

  • Former Rep. Joe Sestak

  • Former Rep. John Delaney

  • Rep. Tim Ryan

  • Sen. Michael Bennet

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio

  • Gov. Steve Bullock

  • Marianne Williamson

In addition to Steyer, Kamala-crushing anti-war candidate, Tulsi Gabbard also missed out on qualification due to the DNC's very specific polling requirements... As RealClearPolitics' Michael Tracey recently reported:

Gabbard has polled at 2% or more in two polls sponsored by the two largest newspapers in two early primary states, but the DNC -- through its mysteriously incoherent selection process -- has determined that these surveys do not count toward her debate eligibility. Without these exclusions, Gabbard would have already qualified. She has polled at 2% or more in two polls officially deemed “qualifying,” and surpassed the 130,000 donor threshold on Aug. 2. While the latter metric would seem more indicative of “grassroots support” -- a formerly obscure Hawaii congresswoman has managed to secure more than 160,000 individual contributions from all 50 states, according to the latest figures from her campaign -- the DNC has declared that it will prioritize polling over donors. In polls with a sample size of just a few hundred people, this means excluding candidates based on what can literally amount to rounding errors: A poll that places a candidate at 1.4% could be considered non-qualifying, but a poll that places a candidate at 1.5% is considered qualifying. Pinning such massive decisions for the trajectory of a campaign on insignificant fractional differences seems wildly arbitrary.

Take also Gabbard’s performance in polls conducted by YouGov. One such poll published July 21, sponsored by CBS, placed Gabbard at 2% in New Hampshire and therefore counts toward her qualifying total. But Gabbard has polled at 2% or more in five additional YouGov polls -- except those polls are sponsored by The Economist, not CBS. Needless to say, The Economist is not a “sponsoring organization,” per the whims of the DNC. It may be one of the most vaunted news organizations in the world, and YouGov may be a “qualified” polling firm in other contexts, but the DNC has chosen to exclude The Economist’s results for reasons that appear less and less defensible.

Then there’s the larger issue of how exactly the DNC is gauging grassroots enthusiasm, which was ostensibly supposed to be the principle governing the debate-qualifying process in the first place. Gabbard was the most Googled candidate twice in a row after each previous debate, which at a minimum should indicate that there is substantial interest in her campaign. It’s an imperfect metric -- Google searches and other online criteria could be subject to manipulation -- but then again, the other metrics are also noticeably imperfect. There is no reason why the DNC could not incorporate a range of factors in determining which candidates voters are entitled to hear from on a national stage. For what it’s worth, she also tends to generate anomalously large interest on YouTube and social media, having gained the second-most Twitter followers of any candidate after the most recent debate in July. Again, these are imperfect metrics, but the entire debate-qualifying process is based on imperfect metrics.

Gabbard has a unique foreign-policy-centric message that is distinct from every other candidate, and she has managed to convert a shoestring campaign operation into a sizable public profile. (She is currently in Indonesia on a two-week National Guard training mission, therefore missing a crucial juncture of the campaign.) Other candidates poised for exclusion might also have a reasonable claim to entry -- Marianne Williamson passed the 130,000 donor threshold this week -- but the most egregious case is clearly Gabbard.

If only out of self-interest, the DNC might want to ponder whether alienating her supporters is a tactically wise move, considering how deeply suspicious many already are of the DNC’s behind-the-scenes role -- memories of a “rigged” primary in 2016 are still fresh.

In its December 2018 “framework” for the debates, the DNC declared: “Given the fluid nature of the presidential nominating process, the DNC will continuously assess the state of the race and make adjustments to this process as appropriate.”

Now would likely be an “appropriate” time for such a reassessment.

We are sure Kamala will be pleased.