Behind eco-activist billionaire Tom Steyer’s digital campaign
Before Trump was sworn in, several so-called ‘grassroots organizations’ were pushing for his impeachment. The Huffington Post had the whole impeachment gig planned out: impeach Trump now because he’s guaranteed to do something wrong at some point.
Some of that chatter bubbled up and resulted in the same sentiments being shared publicly by elected officials. Rep. Maxine Waters was so convinced Trump ought to be impeached, she called for an investigation to find evidence enough for impeachment.
Talk of impeachment and its “Not My President” counterpart were inescapable staples of the media sphere after Trump was elected. Media figures who’d sold their souls to the Clinton gods had no other means of coping with the reality of Trump’s electoral win. Most either denied reality altogether or convinced themselves Trump was already guilty of crimes he’d yet to commit.
And so a digital movement pushing the impeachment narrative was ripe for the picking.
Enter eco-activist billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer is behind a massive digital push to further the impeach Trump cause.
Politico has a lengthy report (well worth the read) discussing his online efforts:
“He’s literally walking down the street, and people are stopping him, thanking him, congratulating him” — and asking him to pose for selfies, Olvera said.
Steyer’s goal has been to create “a digital army, this movement all through digital platforms,’’ Olvera said. “He’s reached out to millions of people through Facebook and Twitter — and he has made them feel part of something.”
One example: Steyer’s drive last Tuesday launched what’s known in the digital world as a “thunderclap” — a platform that allowed him to tap millions of activists in his base and see if they wanted to participate en masse in a specific action. In this case, 37,000 NeedtoImpeach.com followers signed on, gave their credentials and then — “all at the exact same time, posted or tweeted” their impeachment message on Facebook and Twitter,” said Olvera. The move appears to have reached more than 18 million online, Olvera said.
Steyer also launched a 2½-minute video on Facebook last week, which argued that Trump has already committed multiple impeachable offenses, along with a new TV ad on Christmas Day that first ran on Facebook.
Steyer, pressed on how he might use the power of his impeachment movement and his email list, told C-SPAN, “it’s true that people signing up gives us communication with people. But it’s not so much we’re trying to use them. … The question is: How can we use the collective voice of Americans to change the debate … and to let that voice be heard — so that the American people’s will can be followed.”
“That’s what that list is really for: These people’s voice, together, can be an incredibly strong force for change,’’ he argued.
But some skeptical Democrats suggest he may be overplaying the value of his movement and his email list — both to the party and to his own political aspirations.
Digital armies are great and email lists are essential for effective campaigns, but a digital force on its own is not enough. Not everyone who signs up to send a coordinated tweet will do actual on the groundwork, most won’t.
Steyer might be building a massive anti-Trump email list, but his work in the digital space, especially on the topic of impeachment, perturbed several Democrats.DONATE
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