Steyer doesn’t care that Democratic leaders are worried that he could blow their chance at winning the House by talking up impeachment around the country and in his TV ads—though he argues he’s actually helping Democrats. He says he’s the only person willing to tell the truth. And the thing about a self-made billionaire with nothing to lose: it’s hard for anyone to convince him he might be wrong, or to get him to stop.
“Impeaching the president of the United States is upsetting the status quo. Anytime in American history that there has been an attempt to upset the status quo, there have been people within the status quo—within the establishment—saying, ‘It may be true, it may be something we should deal with, it may be important, but not now,’” Steyer told me in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast. “If you look at the civil rights movement, the pushback was not, ‘You’re not telling the truth,’ the pushback was, ‘We’re dealing with it in time. Stand down so we can deal with it in time.’”
Steyer believes he’s lighting up the votes that the Democrats need to flip the House, despite Pelosi’s pushback in both public and private. In a phone call late last fall, the House minority leader urged Steyer to pull the money he was putting into pro-impeachment TV ads and instead spend it on tanking the Republican tax bill.