Steyer Says He’s the Democrat That Trump Can’t Peg as a Socialist


(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer said Sunday he can win the White House because he is the contender Donald Trump can’t tar as a socialist.

Trump “is going to say Democrats suck on the economy. He’s going to say we’re all socialists,” Steyer said at a reporter roundtable organized by Bloomberg News in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Who can he not say that about and who can go after him on the economy and win?”

He added: “You can’t be an international investor for 30 years and not be able to answer that.”

The billionaire investor, who is polling around 1.7% nationally, acknowledged that he needs a strong showing in South Carolina and Nevada to do well on Super Tuesday on March 3. He is polling at 2.3% in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders, who is leading in New Hampshire polls, is a self-described democratic socialist. He has been a frequent target of attacks from Trump, who has said the Democratic Party has moved to the far left.

Steyer is polling second to Joe Biden in South Carolina, with an average of 18.5%, according to RealClearPolitics. He has invested heavily in advertising and staff in the state and is performing particularly strongly with black voters, who form the majority of South Carolina’s Democratic electorate.

“I think I’m saying something different to black people,” he said.

In an election year when Democrats focused on removing Trump and debating sweeping policy proposals such as Medicare for All, Steyer lamented that the issue of race has played a small role in the campaign so far.

“Given that we have such a racist president, it seems inconceivable to me that we’re not speaking about the racism,” he said.

He added that at the debate of Democratic candidates in New Hampshire on Friday, “no one talked about race until I did.”

Steyer favors reparations for African Americans for slavery and said he would appoint a commission to determine how they might be implemented. The solution, he said, is “going to involve money.”

Steyer and Michael Bloomberg have poured money from their own fortunes into their campaigns. While Steyer had initially pledged to spend $100 million, he recently blew past the $150 million mark. Bloomberg has spent about $345 million on advertising alone.

(Bloomberg is the the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

Steyer has made climate change the center of his campaign and said the issue also deserves far more attention than it is getting.

“Donald Trump makes this the most important election of our lifetimes, he said. “Climate might make this the biggest election in the history of the world,” he said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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