Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer vowed in February to give $100 million to political candidates to push a green agenda, but his plans to enact climate change measures are not working, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Mr. Steyer at an Aspen conference this week revealed that little if any of this is happening. The left is as split over energy as it has ever been; the public isn't buying the climate line; and the hedge-fund-manager-turned-activist looks to be regrouping.
The Steyer grand plan began unraveling from the start, when stories about his pledge noted that he might target Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu for her support of the Keystone XL pipeline. Mr. Steyer and his NextGen Climate Action PAC had in 2013 won activist praise for defeating a pro-pipeline Democrat in a Massachusetts primary, and the Louisiana idea was to start his midterm strategy with a similar litmus-test bang. A Landrieu attack would send a message: Democrats who bucked the climate agenda would get beaten, whereas those who embraced it would be rewarded with Mr. Steyer's campaign cash.
Democratic leaders instead flipped out, and quickly schooled Mr. Steyer in the political realities of red states and the magic Senate number of "51." Within days of the pledge, Steyer operative Chris Lehane was tamping down the Landrieu story, insisting Mr. Steyer did not plan to "tea party" Democrats. "We do think it's really, really, really important from a climate perspective that we maintain control of the Senate for Democrats," he explained.
The article goes on to explain that few Democrats are actually seeing benefits from Steyer’s money.
Additionally, Steyer has come nowhere near his goal of $100 million. He claimed in February that he would match $50 million of his money to $50 million raised from donors. In July, donors had only contributed $1.2 million to Steyer's effort.