Tom Steyer: 'We have a government that can't get anything done'

The presidential candidate on why he’s running in 2020.
5:40 | 08/01/19

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Transcript for Tom Steyer: 'We have a government that can't get anything done'
In January, you announced in a press conference that you were not running for president, and then last month you changed your mind which is known to happen in politics, and you decided to join this crowded race. There is already 20 something penal running. Was there nobody in that 20-plus field of candidates that you wanted to see be president? Ana, I really couldn't sleep. I changed my mind -- Get an IKEA bed. I want a $100 gift certificate first. Well, he said any of them could be president. I don't think we're dealing with the two real issues that are standing between us and the greatest society anybody can ever imagine, and that is one, we really need to break the stranglehold on our government, and two, we need to stabilize the climate, and those are immediate things that we need to start on, immediately and urgently, and if we do those two things, if you could imagine us having done those two things, then we're going to have an ability to deliver a life for every American that is better than we understand. We will get health care for every single American. We will get free public education, pre-k through college, and the money is there, whoopi. Oh, I know, but you're not saying -- listen. We got to tell these guys in big business and all these corporations like Amazon and all of them. Facebook, all of them. You have got to pay your fair share. I want to hear you say it. And I absolutely believe that. Say it again. I believe that PACS -- sure. Whoopi was right. Andrew. Whoopi was absolutely right. It's a combination. If you start and look at the taxes, that's the result of them controlling the government. When you see a tax break that goes overwhelmingly to the richest corporations and the richest people at the expense of every other American, you know they're running the government, and you have got to break that stranglehold. How do you get that point across to trump supporters? They don't seem to get it. Actually -- With all due respect, we had the Starbucks guy on too, and you are much like him, a billionaire who has never held elected office, never worked in government, never served in the military. We already have a billionaire businessman in the white house, and it's not going so great, and one of the few things is we think government experience or military experience is so no disrespect, nothing you're saying is resonating with me at all. Well, let me say this -- She means that in a good way. For the last ten years -- You have to quality for the debates. I have put in coalitions of corporate power and won. That involves direct democracy, going on and taking on oil companies and propositions around the world, taking on tobacco companies and beating them seven times in a row by going to the ballot box, and organizing the largest grassroots organization in the United States. You have not proven that you can inspire people to elect you to any office. Actually, what I'm talking about here is if we're going to reform this government, isn't it going to have to be from the outside and the grassroots that it's going to come? Yeah, well -- Isn't it going to be the power of the American people deciding that we together have to take back this government? What I have found very interesting about you is that you were instrumental by many people's accounts for raising and putting in almost $100 million of your own money and changing the face of the 2018 election by getting more Democrats into office than any other time in our recent memory. In 2018, the organization I started, next gen America focused on 38 Republican house seats, and went and organized young people. It was the largest youth voter mobilization in American history, and in those districts, the turnout from the previous four years, the previous midterm election went from 18% to 41%. And how many seats did you flip? 33. And 33 of those seats were flipped. 33 of 38. But that's money. Mobilization and vision. You were out campaigning with them and that's what made the difference? I just think people -- billionaires put your money where your mouth is with these candidates. But he did. That's what I mean, but why run yourself instead of funding them? Over the last seven years, I have done this from 8:00 A.M. To 8:00 P.M. Every single day. As part of organizations, I register kids and I talk to them, and knock on doors. I have done round tables all over this country because if you want to represent Americans, you have to look them in the eye and understand what it means to pay $360 a month for your drugs. Understand what it means that you don't have clean water because the state government won't buy a water treatment facility for your poor, rural district and your husband is dying of kidney failure. You have to do the work. For the last seven years, that's all I have done. So the question is, why not just put that money into 2020 for Democrats? Why are you running yourself? So here's the answer. I am going to do all those things in 2020. I am -- I guaranteed that I'll continue doing all the grassroots organizing that we have done, that we will knock on the doors, that we will be on the campuses, that we will be all over social media talking to young people, but --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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