Capitol Alert

California Nation podcast: What Tom Steyer’s doing with those ‘impeach Trump’ petitions

Tom Steyer, the billionaire activist you may have seen on television calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, is ramping up his efforts to support Democratic candidates ahead of the midterms.

In a wide-ranging conversation with The Bee at his Sutter Street office in San Francisco, he revealed more than 6 million people have signed his petition to impeach Trump. Among them are 4 million — or about 10,000 people per congressional district — who he says “normally don’t vote.”

“We have 4 million people who we’re in contact with every day,” Steyer said. “We’re going to send out over 1.5 million hand-written letters to them asking them to vote.”

You can subscribe to the “California Nation” podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play Music and SoundCloud. This week on the show, we highlight Steyer’s efforts to elect Democrats, worries within California’s walnut industry and how voters should respond if they receive multiple ballots in the mail.

NextGen America — the organization Steyer launched to help mobilize Democratic turnout — has registered over 27,000 young Californians. He said voters between the ages of 18 and 35 will be a major factor in determining whether Democrats regain control of the U.S. House.

When asked why younger people don’t turn out during midterms, he said he has seen strong enthusiasm when he’s visited college campuses.

“It’s a generation that hasn’t voted,” Steyer said. “We strongly believe this is a group of people who are passionate, knowledgeable, engaged, don’t trust the system and haven’t felt that their vote mattered. Our whole goal is to engage them so that they realize that it’s not their vote, but it’s their generation’s vote that will change everything.”

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On this episode, two walnut farmers in Northern California share their stories of how Trump’s tariffs are affecting them. They also weigh in on broader industry concerns. One farmer in Rio Oso named Pat Mecklenburg compared the tariffs to the process of cancer.

“The Trump tariffs probably aren’t helping, but sometimes things have to get worse before they get better,” Mecklenburg said.

The Trump administration recently imposed additional taxes on other countries’ exports into the United States. Some countries, including China, have responded with retaliatory tariffs of their own, placing additional taxes on certain commodities. The federal government is providing some relief to farmers by offering walnut growers $34.6 million. This pales in comparison to the $1.5 billion California walnut farmers generate each year.


In last week’s edition of “California Nation,” we asked listeners to call in with their DMV stories. On this week’s Buzz of the Week segment, we answer one person’s question about what to do after receiving multiple ballots in the mail.