Steyer endorses Biden while prodding him on young voters
OAKLAND, Calif. — Former presidential candidate Tom Steyer formally endorsed Joe Biden Thursday for the Democratic nomination — and urged the former vice president to improve his standing with millions of young voters who care deeply about climate change and income inequality.
Biden’s team is “going to have to show, in terms of policy, that Joe Biden is more progressive than people understand him to be,” the billionaire Democrat said in a phone interview Thursday, in which he announced his support for Biden.
Steyer says he now intends to “personally jump in” and connect with the millions of students and climate change activists who registered to vote and became politically engaged through NextGen America, the nonprofit political advocacy group he founded in 2013. Steyer has also amassed a mailing list of nearly 9 million supporters who signed on to NeedtoImpeach.com, his drive to impeach President Donald Trump in the run up to the 2020 election, long before the House decided to open proceedings last year.
With Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders dropping out of the presidential race this week, Steyer acknowledged concerns about whether Bernie’s supporters — and Steyer’s own network of climate activists and youth voters — will turn out in large numbers to back Biden, who became the favorite for party moderates.
“There’s going to have to be a process to convert’’ those voters, Steyer said.
“They have to be excited about the candidate — and I think that is something that is going to happen but the Biden campaign is going to have to reach out,” he said. “They’re going to have to reach out on climate — and show Joe Biden understands how important stopping climate change is, understands environmental justice at its roots, which he does.”
Steyer said he plans “to organize within the climate community and the progressive community to get people on the same page — because we have to produce, between now and November 3, on a policy basis for progressives. So on November 4, the Biden Administration moves toward the kind of change we all need.”