Q+A: Steyer confident Nevada's diversity plays to his strengths

Posted Friday, 21 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Tom Steyer hopes the Nevada presidential caucus is the turning point for his campaign. After finishing seventh in the Iowa caucuses and sixth in the New Hampshire primary, Steyer feels the diverse voters in Nevada see things differently. Steyer’s camp projects him to finish in second or third in Nevada, where he has campaigned heavily and invested millions in advertising. “We’re obviously on the ground, we have a lot of people, so we’re trying to be as organized as we can be,” Steyer said. “We’re pushing for early vote.” Steyer spoke with the Sun on the phone Sunday to discuss his campaign. His answers are edited for clarity. Do you see Nevada and other Western states that may be more familiar with you as a path to greater support after your showings in Iowa and New Hampshire? It is a Western state, and that’s a good thing for me, but it’s also a diverse state in terms of race and ethnicity. In terms of black voters, Latino voters, Asian voters, Native voters, this is a state that is more diverse. We all know the United States is really diverse, and we all know the Democratic Party is really diverse, so I think this is the first time people get a chance to see what candidates’ abilities are to attract people of color.  So, I think Nevada really matters in and of itself, and it is a Western state, as you say, but it’s also a more diverse state. As you said, Nevada will be the most diverse state to vote so far. Are you confident in your ability to attract voters of color? In fact, I overindex to voters of color. I think that that’s true pretty much across the board. I have a decades-long history of working for social and racial justice. Anybody can come up with a progressive policy on immigration, but you can’t change the past. I’ve been working on it for decades. Shifting topics, Nevada has been one of the states most ravaged by climate change. You’ve outlined multiple proposals for climate reform, including declaring a national emergency upon taking office. How will you get these proposals through if the Senate remains Republican? I would declare a state of emergency on Day One using the emergency powers of the presidency without waiting for Republicans. The president can put in rules about what kind of energy to generate, what kind of cars to produce and what kind of energy efficiency buildings we have to have, and we put that in on Day One. Congress has never passed climate legislation, so, in fact, what we’re talking about is going out on Day One and insisting on it. So are there measures you’d want to take that would require congressional approval? There’s no doubt about it that, ultimately, if you want to spend trillions of dollars on something you need congressional approval. We’ve got to get going on Day One. The other thing that’s really true is we can’t do this by ourselves. The whole world has to do this. Only the United States can put together that kind of coalition. If we haven’t declared a state of emergency and started doing the right thing on our own, why is anybody going to listen to us? Let’s take this to a broader picture. Control of the Senate will also be decided in the 2020 election. If Republicans do maintain control, how would you work with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? What are your strategies for dealing with a Republican Senate that may try to stall any form of progressive agenda? My strategy is to beat Mitch McConnell. All the people who are saying there are strategies, when’s the last time Mitch McConnell went along with something with Democrats? I saw him, in eight years with President Barack Obama, give in zero times. I’ve seen him do things that are good for the Republican Party. I’ve not seen him do one thing that is good for the country. He just got through running an impeachment trial where he allowed no witnesses. He declared the president innocent before the fact. You’re asking me how I’m going to get along with that guy? Why don’t you call him up and ask him how he’s going to get along with me? Why do people also ask Democrats how they’re going to get along with people who are overwhelmingly partisan and have given up on their oath of office? The Democrats who are telling you they can do that, I want to see an example.As I’m sure you know, the Culinary Union has declined to endorse, but union leadership did share criticisms about single-payer, government-run health care. What is the feeling you get on the ground in Nevada about the debate over how to change the health care system? I’m sure you know I’m in favor of a public option to work off of the Affordable Care Act. I think that’s right because I believe that leaving Americans’ choice on what to do with their health care alone is the right thing to do. That’s what everybody wants. It’s not just the Culinary Union. My sense, everywhere I go, is that’s what people want. I know people say on the debate stage that nobody likes their employment-based health care, but that’s not what I’ve heard.  I think when you’re talking about tens of trillions of dollars and the government taking away people’s choice and insisting on government-mandated health care then I think it’s important to know how it’s going to get paid for. I agree with Bernie that we should have health care as a right for every American and I know we need government to drive down the cost. Is there anything you’d like to tell Nevada voters who may be unfamiliar with you or undecided on how they’ll vote? Job one is to defeat Donald Trump, and whoever the Democratic nominee is will have to be able to take him on on the economy. Honestly, I think my three decades in the private sector gives me a completely different window into job growth, prosperity and economic vibrancy. That’s what Trump’s running on and he lies about it all the time. I think I can point out the fact that he’s lying in every single instance. There is a much better economic option out there for Americans, and that’s what I’m talking about.

Other articles published by Las Vegas Sun

Test your knowledge of Memorial Day Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Observed annually on the last Monday in May, Memorial day is set aside to honor the men and women who have died in service to our country. While it didn’t become an official national holiday until 1971, its origins begin with the Civil War. The quiz...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The coronavirus pandemic may have wiped out college graduation season, but the Las Vegas Valley’s Class of 2020 shines brightly even though it didn’t get its well-deserved turn in the spotlight. Today, we celebrate this year’s graduates from UNLV,...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

In some professions, helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus means working from home or keeping a respectful and safe distance from coworkers at the office. But when your office might be a burning building, social distancing becomes more...

The Notes: Philanthropy, May 25, 2020 Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Christensen Development’s Center Pointe Plaza and Trails Village Center shopping centers partnered with 15 tenants to purchase over $1,000 worth of food from each small business to donate to Summerlin Hospital,...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

During uncertain economic times, the unpredictable act of investing can be made even more unpredictable, local experts say. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic crisis in the United States, money decisions for average investors have certainly...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

If Nevada amateur baseball legends Bryce Harper or Kris Bryant were eligible for this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, not much would have changed for the sure-thing prospects. They would sign a pro contract, collect a...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer in the U.S. meant big crowds at beaches and warnings from authorities Sunday about people disregarding the coronavirus social-distancing rules and risking a...

Posted Monday, 25 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

NEW YORK — New York Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb knew that he and first-year coach Walt Hopkins would have to make some tough decisions on the team's roster this year. He just didn't think they'd have to do it so quickly and without seeing...

Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

ATLANTA — One was a 94-year-old veteran of World War II who was the first of his 11 brothers to enlist in the military. One was a Vietnam veteran who lost his leg overseas and was always touched when people thanked him for his service. Another was...

Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Eddie Sutton waited so long to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He couldn't hang on long enough to make it to the ceremony. The man who led three teams to the Final Four and was the first coach to take four schools to the...

Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Immediately after giving his valedictorian speech, high school senior Philip Root, still clad in his cap and gown, climbed into a borrowed race car and drove up to the finish line at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With the yellow tassel of his graduation...

Ailes’ influence is terrifying Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

I just finished re-watching Showtime’s important documentary “The loudest voice in the room,” about the jaded career of Fox News creator Roger Ailes. There are millions of responsible conservatives who are devotees of this cable channel. When they...

GOP, Trump are indefensible Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The May 17 editorial, “An accommodating GOP, Trump are transforming America into a dictatorship,” was outstanding. You laid out the facts in such a way that they are both concise and undeniable. I encourage you to publish any letters that attempt to...

Trump sending us all into war Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

We do not have an Ahab obsessed with a white whale. We have a white whale obsessed with its ego and re-election. President Donald Trump says we should be his warriors. We should work, shop, mingle, etc., in crowded spaces. Will there be more coronavirus...

Ayatollah leading Iran back to the past Posted Sunday, 24 May 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Enough with the absurdities of Donald Trump and his mangling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Enough of all this talk about the tens of thousands of lives that researchers have concluded Trump’s dithering, narcissism, incompetence and intellectual vacuousness ...