As the bank accounts of Silicon Valley swell, so too does their appetite for lobbying the government. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, over the last 25 years, lobbying has spiked almost 2,000%, from 800K in 1990 to over 60M in 2012.
“The path to the presidency runs right through the Valley, which took on a special role in 2012, becoming a coveted source of new cash,” writes the CRP.
What’s interesting is that nearly every other industry gives decidedly more money to Republicans (construction, health, transportation, defense), but lobbying for the electronics industry is overwhelming Democratic. In 2012, they gave 3–2 to Democrats over republicans ($30M vs. $20M).
Unlike other industries, the tech industry tends to rely more on government programs, from public education, to research and immigration. The tech industry relies on the government to attract and train their future workforce.
It’s true that there are Republican Whales in Silicon Valley, including PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, who has given millions to libertarian causes and candidates.
Senator Rand Paul once told me that he thinks Silicon Valley will turn red with the right candidate. But, looking at the numbers, he seems to be overestimating Silicon Valley’s libertarian tendencies.
The tech industry reaps rewards from some federal programs and tends to be fearful of candidates intent on cutting them.