The rise of Donald Trump and his “America First” platform is pushing tech CEOs even closer to the Democrat establishment, after two decades of Silicon Valley moguls outsourcing millions of manufacturing jobs while enjoying huge government contracts.
At $1.24 trillion in annual procurement, the United States government is the biggest customer on the face of the planet. Although most Americans assume that the military receives the bulk of federal purchases, non-military sectors consume the largest share of federal spending.
With Silicon Valley dominating the information technology (IT) sector, the federal government is expected to spend $86.4 billion on IT purchases in 2016, according to the WhiteHouse.gov website.
IT spending for the military has been flat for the last three years at $37 billion, or 43 percent of federal IT sales. But increasingly, a high percentage of that cash is being steered toward disruptive Silicon Valley cyber-warfare companies, such as Palantir Technologies, which doubled its federal sales to over $1.5 billion last year.
Because of their symbiotic business relationship with Washington D.C., Silicon Valley has earned the nickname of “Valley of the Democrats” by the TechCrunch blog.
And because the vast majority of Silicon Valley tech CEOs supported Barack Obama’s 2012 Presidential re-election bid, 83 percent of employee donations from top tech firms went to Obama. Peter Thiel, Co-Founder of Pay-Pal and Palantir, told TechCrunch, “Most of Silicon Valley, most of the executives, tend to be Democrats.”
In this election cycle, the Silicon Valley tech elite are almost exclusively backing the Democrat establishment. Tesla’s Elon Musk donated directly to Hillary Clinton, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wrote big checks to San Francisco’s Democratic Party organization, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates heavily funded three Democratic congressmen.
Stanford Professor Adam Bonica found that the share of political giving by the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans to the GOP has plummeted from 68 percent in 1982 during the Reagan Administration to 59 percent during the 2012 re-election of President Obama.
Bonica’s analysis of two decades of political donations by America’s wealthiest families suggested that “changes in partisanship could well reflect changes from a manufacturing and extraction economy to a technology and information economy—Silicon Valley and Hollywood are generous to Democrats.”
But a review of tech CEOs’ political attitudes in the “Valley of the Democrats,” reveals that their donating 83 percent of political contributions to Democrats might be more about gaining economic advantage than being fellow travelers with leftist comrades.
Only 43 percent of Silicon Valley tech founders are registered as Democrats and they are 25 percent less likely than Democrats to favor environmental regulations and healthcare mandates. While 73 percent of Democrats believe labor unions are good, only 29 percent of tech founders support unions (just slightly more than Republicans).
But the real show-stopper is the fact that 73 percent of tech CEOs support global free trade over workers, compared to only 20 percent support from Democrats for free trade.
Furthermore, about 61 percent of tech founders believe there is “no inherent conflict between citizens, corporations and government,” compared to only 20 percent of Democrats. Perhaps the biggest reason that Silicon Valley tech founders believe there are no conflicts is that they have received exactly what they wanted from a Democrat in the White House.
Not only have Silicon Valley tech companies offshored labor costs to the third world, but they have also off-loaded $89 billion of their U.S. tax liability through the use of foreign tax havens, according a report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
With Donald Trump’s May 3 sweep of Indiana locking up the Republican nomination on a platform of “America First,” Silicon Valley CEOs seem destined to double down on their support for Democrat establishment candidates.