The Democrats have a growing billionaire problem. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is using his vast personal wealth to push Democrats out-of-step with the public on gun issues. Now, a hedge fund billionaire, Tom Steyer, is threatening to use his wealth to defeat Democrats who support construction of the Keystone pipeline. If they heed his threats, Democrats will again find themselves on the wrong side of the public on a key policy issue.
Steyer’s environmental organization, 350.org, has already targeted MA Dem Rep. Steve Lynch for defeat in the upcoming primary to fill Sen. Kerry’s term in the Senate. Steyer’s group has endorsed Dem Rep. Ed Markey, largely because Lynch is a supporter of the Keystone pipeline.
350 spokesman Jamie Henn made it clear that their involvement in MA is just the beginning of their efforts against pro-pipeline Democrats. “We’ve got some time before 2014, but I’d advise their staff to take a close look at Massachusetts,” said Henn, referring to pro-Keystone Democrats.
Late Friday, 17 Senate Democrats broke with the Obama Administration and voted for an amendment to approve construction of Keystone. Blocking construction of the pipeline is a key goal for the environmental movement. Unfortunately for them, however, a recent poll found that 70% of the public supports the pipeline.
A billionaire with a cause, however, can push a party in a direction it wouldn’t otherwise go. Bloomberg has pushed the party far away from the public on guns. Steyer looks set to do the same on energy.