On Wednesday, June 20th, Nextgen America will open their Manchester, NH headquarters on Lowell Street. The office will be new, but the push for progressive causes in New Hampshire has been going on for several months. Paid for in large part by California billionaire–and anti-Trump activist– Tom Steyer.
Steyer has pledged $30 million a year in funding for his super PAC, NextGen America, to help the Democrats win congressional races in New Hampshire, Colorado, Michigan and other swing states. Opening the new office is just part of his plan to play a role in Granite State politics.
According to N.H. State Youth Director Teddy Smyth, the group already has 18 employees and activists on the ground in the Granite State and a list of about 2,100 New Hampshire young people who’ve pledged to vote in November.
NextGen New Hampshire says it will be active on 18 college campuses across the state as well, the group says in a statement.
Steyer’s not a complete stranger to New Hampshire, having attended Phillips Exeter Academy (where he was elected student body president by promoting coed in-dorm visits). However, his agenda isn’t necessarily one shared by rank-and-file New Hampshire voters, or even New Hampshire Democrats.
Steyer is obsessed with his effort to impeach President Trump, having pledged about $40 million for Need to Impeach–Steyer’s platform to promote impeachment and progressive candidates who will support it. Steyer travels the country hosting town halls to get voters to demand Democratic candidates in primaries pledge to support impeachment should their party take control of Congress in the 2018 midterms.
Many prominent Democrats have pushed back against this effort, believing that impeachment talk makes it harder for their party to take by the House in 2018. And the polling is certainly trending that way. In April a Marist poll found that “47 percent of registered voters would definitely vote against a candidate who wanted to remove Trump from office, while 42 percent would definitely vote for a candidate who would make such a promise. Forty-seven percent of independent voters — whose opinions could be decisive — also say they would vote against candidates favoring impeachment.”
Steyer’s not shy about giving money to politicians or spending it for his progressive politics. In 2014 Steyer spent $75 million–more than the next three donors combined, In 2016 he raised the ante to $91 million– though half the candidates he backed in big races (including Hillary Clinton) lost. And he’s already the top individual donor ($30 million) in the 2018 election nationwide.
What impact will Steyer have on the Granite State’s midterm elections? There’s already a candidate forum for the First Congressional District planned in Portsmouth for the week of August 26. Then there’s Steyer’s effort to force every Democratic candidate to address the impeachment issue–despite polls showing independents aren’t thrilled with the idea. As Steyer says in an open letter:
Given Trump’s total lack of fitness for office, the question of impeachment becomes a very real issue should we succeed in our midterm goal. That makes it imperative for every Governor of every state, and every mayor of every city, to acknowledge where they stand. This question affects the lives of every single American. They deserve to hear whether or not our party is willing to do what is necessary to protect them and their families. This is not an academic exercise. The very stability of the Republic is at stake.
Plenty of Democrats running for governor, mayor, etc. looking for votes from moderates and independent voters would prefer not to talk impeachment. But with Steyer’s money and mailing list, it’s going to be tempting for New Hampshire Democrats attending his town halls and headquarter openings to give the California billionaire what he wants. Even if it hurts them in November.