Did Tom Steyer Just Make a Good Point?

Charles Krupa/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Billionaire and philanthropist Tom Steyer—who is currently polling at 2 percent nationally—just delivered what may turn out to be the best line of Friday night’s Democratic presidential debate.

As the other candidates squabbled over health care, Steyer refocused the conversation by quoting the infamous phrase from Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid,” getting to the heart of the challenge of defeating an incumbent. 

“We’re gonna have to take Mr. Trump down on the economy, because if you listen to him, he’s crowing about it every single day,” Steyer said, “and he’s gonna beat us unless we can take him down on the economy, stupid.”

The problem, Steyer seemed to suggest, was not Democrats’ policies so much as their overall messaging.

“I have heard this debate so many darn times, and I love all these people, and they’re all right,” he said. “If we win, we can get the right thing, Bernie. I am with you. If we win, we can get the right thing, Pete and Amy. But we gotta win, or we are in deep trouble, and we keep not talking about the facts.”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate