With Hillary Clinton’s polls collapsing, Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s project “The Groundwork,” which was supposed to lead Silicon Valley’s effort to put Clinton into the White House, appears to be failing.
Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google’s new parent company, Alphabet, was instrumental in forming the start-up that is the major technology vendor for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Schmidt’s net worth is estimated by Forbes to be more than $10 billion.
The Groundwork was the highest paid tech service company to the Clinton campaign, receiving $136,131 during the third quarter and $313,349 through the first 9 months of 2015. It was second in total earnings only to digital consultant Blue Wolf Group, according to available federal filings.
Quartz commented that the company’s website consists “only of a grey-on-black triangle logo that suggests ‘the digital roots of change’ while also looking vaguely like the Illuminati symbol.”
“We’re not trying to obfuscate anything, we’re just trying to keep our heads down and do stuff,” says Michael Slaby, who is CEO of The Groundwork. Salby was also the chief technology officer for president Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, a top digital executive for Obama 2012, and the former chief technology strategist for ‘TomorrowVentures’, Eric Schmidt’s angel investment fund.
He did admit The Groundwork and its parent company, Chicago-based Timshel–which, according to its website, is named for a Hebrew word meaning “you may”–are “all one project, with the same backers,” whom Slaby refused to name.
He stated: “There are a lot of people who can write big checks. Eric recognizes how the technology he’s been building his whole career can be applied to different spaces.”
Silicon Valley and Democratic politics are bonded-at-the-hip. Google employees contributed more to Obama’s re-election campaign than did employees of any other company, except Microsoft. On Election Night 2012, Eric Schmidt was running the voter-turnout system from the president’s national campaign office.
“On Election Night [Schmidt] was in our boiler room in Chicago,” Obama lieutenant David Plouffe told told Bloomberg News, in a story that revealed that for the campaign, Schmidt “helped recruit talent, choose technology and coach the campaign manager, Jim Messina, on the finer points of leading a large organization.”
Helping Obama get re-elected seems to have paid off for Google. As Breitbart News reported in “Net Neutrality Passes: Everybody Equal, But Google Much More Equal’”on February 2015, Google lobbyists met with White House officials 230 times in the run-up to the new FCC rules, versus only 20 times for rival Comcast.
With less than 24 hours before the historic FCC vote, Google requested rule changes that were apparently accepted by the three Democrats on the five-member FCC board. Politico warned, “The last-minute revisions, however, demonstrate the growing influence of Google, which has become a major lobbying presence in Washington.”
Former Obama staffer Elan Kriegel, who now leads analytics for the Clinton campaign, suggested the technology accounted for half the margin of victory in Obama’s 2012 reelection over Republican Mitt Romney. With Schmidt fully on board with Clinton and personally backing The Groundwork, no major Democrat political figure was willing to challenge the former Secretary of State in the 2016 primary.
But despite Schmidt and Silicon Valley’s staunch backing, Hillary Clinton’s nine-point lead in the Iowa caucus last month over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been virtually wiped out, according to the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll. Support for Sanders increased slightly, but the big change was that support for Clinton fell by six points.
A Quinnipiac poll released this week showed Sanders with a 5-point lead over Clinton in Iowa, 49 percent to 44 percent. The new polls come as the candidates prepare for the next Democratic debate on January 17. The Clinton camp has gone negative with attacks on Sanders, but many see the move as a desperate effort risking a Clinton collapse.
Sanders also now leads Hillary Clinton by 14 points in New Hampshire, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll of likely New Hampshire voters.
The Groundwork was supposed to leverage Silicon Valley’s success in assisting Obama in 2008 and 2012 create viral support among first-time voters, independents, and people under the age of 45. But Bernie Sanders’ campaign is now dominating in those categories.
Hillary Clinton, like Romney in 2012, only leads among seniors, party faithful, moderates, and people earning $100,000 or more.