It was long rumored that Donald Trump decided to run for president in 2015 simply because he was angered by President Obama's dismissal of him at the White House Correspondents' Dinner and thought that he could use the platform afforded to candidates to continually insult and degrade Obama. If you believe Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury, Trump never truly expected or wanted to win. He simply wanted to parlay the higher profile into more lucrative private marketing opportunities, like TrumpTV and his various resorts and properties around the world. It was only the world's very bad luck that Russian president Vladimir Putin saw value in putting a dementia-addled, malignant narcissistic racist in charge of the nuclear codes.
People run for president for a variety of reasons, not always to get the job. Some are looking to raise their profile in DC to be considered for leadership positions. Some want to reframe the debate. For example, Washington governor Jay Inslee wants the climate change crisis to have a larger portion of the dialog for future leaders. Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell had hoped that sensible gun regulations could be taken up by the entire party. It's doubtful that Medicare for All would be a mainstream party position if Bernie Sanders hadn't stuck in the 2016 race as long as he did.
And Tom Steyer threw his hat into the 2020 race for one reason: to increase the pressure to start impeachment hearings on Donald Trump.
It's an unusual proposal: "Elect me president so that I can talk about impeaching the previous president."
But Steyer's not interested in the job--he just wants to keep the talking about impeaching Donald Trump front and center.
Steyer defended his recent push for impeachment of President Donald Trump, telling ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl that "actual democracy," and more public visibility will boost support for Trump's removal.
"What we've been pushing for in terms of the argument that this president is corrupt, we all now know that. This president is the most corrupt in American history and is a danger to the country and the Constitution -- that argument we have won," Steyer said, brushing off recent polling that shows support for impeachment below 40% among American adults.
"The only way to actually push this the right way is what we've been saying, actual democracy. Get it on TV, let the American people see the facts and let them judge, that hasn't happened," he added.
So while the Democrats in Congress move glacially through Trump's obstruction of subpoenas and fighting for oversight through the courts, Steyer can move much more quickly and smoothly and use the mainstream media for his ends.
But it's not instructive or useful to consider Steyer's candidacy through his odds of winning.