WASHINGTON: Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer launched an underdog 2020 presidential bid yesterday, reversing his decision from months ago to focus instead on pressing the case to impeach incumbent Donald Trump. “My name’s Tom Steyer and I’m running for president,” the Democratic philanthropist and former hedge fund manager said in a video announcing his candidacy.


Denouncing a “rigged system” that benefits Americans at the top, Steyer said his campaign was “trying to make democracy work by pushing power down to the people.” Steyer’s announcement makes the 62-year-old the 24th candidate pursuing the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, a sprawling field that includes heavyweights like former US vice president Joe Biden and senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.


His late entry likely puts him at a disadvantage; the party has already held its first debate, and Steyer will be hard pressed to meet the donor and polling criteria to make the stage for the next debate later this month. Steyer has been among the most unapologetic supporters of impeaching the president, donating millions of dollars of his own fortune to a television and online campaign, Need to Impeach.
But he steered clear of that message in his launch video, training his fire instead on powerful corporations that he said have “bought the democracy” and are putting profits ahead of everyday Americans and environmental stewardship.


“There’s a breakdown in Washington DC, and I don’t mean just Donald Trump,” Steyer added on Twitter. “I’m talking about corporate money and our broken political system.” Steyer recently has spoken critically of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, who is publicly opposed to launching impeachment proceedings against Trump but is facing mounting pressure from within her caucus to do so.–AFP