It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but large technology firms want the Democrats to win big in next week’s elections. In fact, they’re actively stumping for left-leaning candidates, betting on a “blue wave” (you know, the one that Democratic leaders are trying to downplay).
Axios has some bullet points demonstrating the different ways Silicon Valley has gotten involved on the Democrat side:
· Some techies have volunteered their time or money. Tech For Campaigns has recruited almost 10,000 tech worker volunteers to be matched up with campaigns. A spokesperson said the group had worked with 115 candidates in 17 states.
· Others have backed specific candidates, such as Tech Solidarity’s “Great Slate” project to drive cash to a group of progressives in competitive districts.
· VCs have looked to invest in products aimed at helping candidates. That includes Chris Sacca and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. Higher Ground Labs, which was founded in 2017 to help progressives, now has more than 20 companies in its portfolio.
· Donors worked behind the scenes. Scott Krisiloff, who advises Y Combinator President Sam Altman’s political efforts, has worked with Senate Democrats’ top political action committee on issues related to digital strategy and donors, according to a source familiar with the matter.
· Some former tech workers — including former Groupon exec Suneel Gupta and former Uber exec Brian McClendon — are actually running for office in Michigan and Kansas, respectively.
Naturally, all of this comes in reaction to the 2016 election and what has happened since. Silicon Valley is full of liberals who are appalled that the GOP made gains two years ago and want to put progressives back in power.
This isn’t the first time that tech companies have tried to influence elections, but the encouraging sign is that, as Axios reports, many of their efforts haven’t gone so well:
· Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Hoffman’s Win The Future initiative had floundered despite promising at its launch to shake up the political system.
· The Sean Parker-backed Brigade, which bills itself as a social network centered around politics, never really got off the ground.
Here’s the thing: we might as well get used to seeing Silicon Valley trying to influence politics in a leftward direction. They’re certainly not going away or seeing conservatism in a better light anytime soon. But conservatives need to step up their game in terms of presenting their views in the most attractive light possible — and not giving progressives fodder for ridicule.
We certainly live in a tech-driven world, but that doesn’t mean the tech companies have to drive our politics too.