Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s connections and millions could not defeat the Tea Party to pass comprehensive amnesty legislation this year.
Politico concluded that “Zuckerberg’s immigration reform push had all the capital, connections and star power to merit success,” but “not even Silicon Valley could make this investment — and the Facebook founder’s first foray into national politics — pay off.”
Zuckerberg’s FWD.us reportedly “surpassed its $50 million fundraising goal Zuckerberg set and has almost $25 million still squirreled away.” According to Politico, “much of the money went to media buys,” including a deceptive $150,000 ad buy in North Carolina that declared pro-amnesty Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) was against amnesty to ensure that she would win her primary. But despite some small wins, the group, Politico notes, learned some “sobering lessons” of Washington.
One big lesson is that the record number of Americans who hate Congress also despise the bipartisan “Boomtown” elites Zuckerberg courted to pass amnesty legislation.
Facebook contributors are a “who’s who” of the tech world, and its strategists are some of the top members of Washington’s bipartisan permanent political class. For instance, “director Todd Schulte served as former chief of staff at Priorities USA, a super PAC that supported President Barack Obama,” and “its campaign manager, Rob Jesmer, worked as the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.” Its “consultants worked for numerous presidents and both sides of the aisle,” according to Politico.
So it is with irony that a photo of Zuckerberg with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) contributed to Cantor’s shocking ouster, which effectively killed amnesty legislation this year. Before Dave Brat shockingly defeated Cantor in a June primary, he spent weeks tying Cantor directly to Zuckerberg and the permanent political class he courted. Brat’s campaign sent out flyers that had a photo of Cantor and Zuckerberg to hammer home the point that the bipartisan political class cares more about cronyism than American workers. The flyers said, “There are 20 million Americans who can’t find a full-time job. But Eric Cantor wants to give corporations another 20 million foreign workers to hire instead.”
Brat attacked the high-tech industry’s demands for more high-tech guest-worker visas, even though numerous nonpartisan scholars and studies have shown there is a surplus–not a shortage–of American high-tech workers. And he relentlessly hammered Cantor on the amnesty issue, especially Cantor’s desire to give amnesty to illegal immigrant children as thousands were flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border.
A post-election poll confirmed that the immigration issue and the Tea Party defeated Cantor.
“FWD.us is the most prominent, most active biggest spending group in recent years to come out in favor of immigration reform,” said Elizabeth Wilner of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group told Politico. “You can look at really influential people in business thinking they can put names and money behind something and believe it will pass… but they’re basically running into the brick wall of Washington and polarization.”
After House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told him there would not be an amnesty vote this year, President Barack Obama expressed frustration that the Tea Party defeated amnesty legislation. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has also said that House Republicans are afraid to cross the Tea Party. Obama has indicated he will use executive actions to try to change as many of the country’s immigration laws as he can.