Can’t buy me love
And try to get your vote
But all it seems to do, my friend
Is annoy you, get your goat.
Oh all I’ve done is waste my money,
In 1964, when Tom Steyer was just 7 years old, The Beatles released their huge hit single “Can’t Buy Me Love”.
Now, 55 years later, the political version of that song, “Can’t Buy Me Votes”, is manifesting itself in billionaire Steyer’s going-nowhere quest for the Presidency. Not only is it generating just about zero interest in his candidacy, but it apparently is turning people off in the bargain.
From Trent Spiner’s article at politico.com, which discusses his massive advertising push in New Hampshire:
Some Granite staters said they’re seeing Steyer’s ads dozens of times a day — and it’s become more grating than ingratiating. A POLITICO reporter who watched YouTube music videos this week by Pentatonix, a popular a capella group, endured 17 Steyer ads in just over an hour.
Even some of Steyer’s local staff privately acknowledge the volume of ads has gone overboard.
Steyer has massively outspent other Democratic candidates on social media in an effort to gain traction in polls and ensure he makes the debate stage. But the recoiling of some New Hampshire voters suggests there are limits to the strategy — Michael Bloomberg beware. Indeed, some residents feel like they can’t touch a piece of technology without seeing his face.
“There is a point of no return in terms of visibility,” said Scott Spradling, a New Hampshire media analyst. “At some point, you become the uninvited guest. He uniquely is becoming dangerously close.”
A billionaire with a huge ego wants to be president. Where have we heard that before?
Except Donald Trump’s run for the presidency actually appealed to voters. He was – and remains – a unique character who generates strong feelings, both pro and con.
Tom Steyer, by contrast, is basically an unexciting version of Elizabeth Warren with a ton more money and different personal plumbing.
Though I don’t live in New Hampshire and have not seen his ads there, the ones I have seen seem to rely on attacking Trump (what else is new?), scolding us for the way we live and demanding we change our ways.
If Steyer were the only one doing this it might have some impact. But since other, more well known, Democrats are featuring the same issues, Steyer offers nothing to set him apart/move him to the forefront other than the sheer amount of money he is running through.
And how is it working out? Based on the “results” so far – one outlier poll puts him at 5%, all the others put him at 1% to 3% – in the (paraphrased) words of Paul McCartney and John Lennon:
Can’t buy him votes. No no no, no.