Tom Steyer and Virgin Galactic

Grind for July 12th
“Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.”
– Cullen Hightower


The Headline

Anti-Trump nutcase Tom Steyer declares presidential bid

The Grind

Billionaire activist and Democratic megadonor Tom Steyer announced his presidential bid on Tuesday, bringing the total number of candidates to 26.

In January, he said he wouldn’t run and expressed support for Elizabeth Warren. Now, he plans to spend $100 million on his 2020 campaign.

“If we can reduce the influence of corporate money in our democracy, and start to address the devastating impacts of climate change, we can unlock the full potential of the American people and finally solve the many challenges facing our country,” Steyer said on Tuesday.

The Details

Tom Steyer is a former hedge fund manager and longtime Democratic donor known for his “impeach Trump” television ads. His progressive organization “Need to Impeach” has attracted 8 million members in just 2 years.

Steyer is a self-made man whose net worth reached $1.6 billion this year. This similarity to Trump puts him at an immediate disadvantage in the eyes of voters who favor grassroots campaigns and who don’t want to see another rich white man in the Oval Office.

To qualify for a spot in the second round of Democratic debates, Steyer will need to collect 65,000 unique donations and earn 1% support in the polls by the end of the month. To qualify for the third debate, which takes place in September, he will need to amass 130,000 donations and 2% support in the polls.

Steyer might have the cash to make an impact on the 2020 elections, but Republicans don’t expect him to attract much support.

“It doesn’t say much for the whole Democratic Party that the number one Democratic donor took a look around and decided that there’s no one he can support,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Trump 2020.

To Boldly Go

The Headline

Space tourism company Virgin Galactic prepares to enter stock market

The Grind

With plans to enter the US stock market by the end of the year, Virgin Galactic is set to become the first-ever publicly traded spaceflight company.

“We know that millions of people are deeply inspired by human spaceflight, would love to become more involved and, ultimately experience space for themselves,” says Richard Branson, who founded Virgin Galactic in 2004.

“By taking Virgin Galactic pubic…we can open space to more investors and in doing so, open space to thousands of new astronauts.”

The Details

Virgin Galactic experienced a devastating setback in 2014 when a test flight crashed into the Mojave Desert and resulted in the death of Michael Alsbury. The company has since rebounded and completed two crewed test flights into space.

Virgin Galactic has reservations from more than 600 people representing $80 million in deposits and $120 million in potential revenue, but the company will need a lot more than that to make the flights a reality.

Virgin Galactic ended investment talks with Saudi Arabia earlier this year following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and hopes to make the money it needs by going public.

The offering will occur following a $1.5 billion merger with Social Capital Hedosophia, whose founder and CEO Chamath Palihapitiya will invest $100 million and become Chairman of the combined entity.

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