Steyer proves the Beatles correct: Money can't buy me love

Money can’t buy you love, but it can usually rent you some political followers. Tom Steyer turns out to be incompetent even at that, however, as he’s finding himself locked out of the upcoming DNC debate in September. CNN notes that Steyer has claimed to have fulfilled the donor qualification, but hasn’t shown up at all in the polling:

The billionaire hedge-fund founder plowed millions of dollars into television and social media ads to promote his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, but he failed to register a minimum of 2 percentage points in two polls released Wednesday morning.

Steyer entered the race late — on July 9 — and scrambled to meet the Democratic National Committee’s polling and donor benchmarks. Candidates needed to register at least 2% in four DNC-approved polls and receive money from 130,000 individual contributors, including at least 400 donors in each of 20 or more states.

Steyer has hit the polling threshold in three polls, and has until the end of the day on Wednesday to qualify. He announced earlier this month that he had met the donor threshold.

In which polls has Steyer hit 2%? His overall RCP average is 0.4%, pretty darned low for someone who got in less than two months ago and claims to have hit that mark in three polls since. In today’s Quinnipiac poll, Steyer doesn’t even register, and hasn’t hit 1% in any polls in this series since starting his campaign. He got 1% in CNN’s poll last week, the same in the Fox poll, The Hill/Harris, and in the Politico/Morning Consult survey. He got a goose egg in the Economist/YouGov poll, and only 5% of respondents said they’d consider him at all. Steyer also got zip-a-dee-doo-dah in the latest Reuters survey, and Emerson.

What other polls are left? That covers most of the polls aggregated by RCP over the last two months on the Democratic presidential primary. If Steyer has hit 2% in three other polls, the fellas at RCP might want to take a peek at them.

Steyer’s failure is perhaps the most normal thing that has happened so far in the Democrats’ 2020 sweepstakes. The DNC has tried to set up objective measurements for access to the debate stage in order to redeem themselves for selling out to Hillary Clinton in 2015-16. However, the results have been a bit perverse, NPR points out today:

Others who have struggled to qualify say the requirements benefit wealthy candidates who can spend more. Earlier this month, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock blasted the rules that could now let billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who just entered the race last month, make the cut but would keep out Bullock, who has argued his electability based on winning in a Trump state but has struggled to catch on nonetheless.

Kamarck’s suggestion for Democrats to help the process could boost someone like Bullock. She says that while the party has recoiled from the appearance of trying to determine who might be strong or weak candidates, instead leaving it up to more tangible measures like polls and fundraising, they should reconsider that stance.

The fact that this debate is likely to leave out every single governor running in addition to other elected officials who, in any other cycle, could be strong contenders, is evidence of the hesitation to let party leaders weigh in at all — even if it could be needed. Instead, as many as three candidates who have never held any type of federal or statewide office before could be on stage. …

“What we’ve lost in this nomination system, which we had in the old system was peer review — people who know the individuals and know what is required don’t have any say anymore in the process,” argued Kamarck. “It’s been an overreaction.”

In these populist times, don’t bet on the rank and file suddenly endorsing “peer review.” Hillary Clinton was the poster child for peer review, and look where that got the DNC. In this cycle, Joe Biden is the “peer review” candidate, although at the moment he’s also succeeding on his own. Bullock waited too long to make his decision and got swallowed up by the process, not buried by Steyer. Steyer’s too busy burying himself despite his money — or perhaps because of it.