Chronicle: Donald Trump Is Changing Politics in Silicon Valley

Trump and smartphones (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

Disdain and outright fear of a Donald J. Trump presidency has changed Silicon Valley politics and, by some accounts, is pushing more donations towards the Hillary Clinton camp, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“There is a deeper and deeper concern that he could actually be elected president,” Chris Kelly, an early top executive at Facebook and Clinton supporter, told the Chronicle.

However, a number of leading tech executives in communication with Breitbart News have quietly conveyed their admiration for Trump and his campaign, particularly his ability to use social media rather than traditional ad buys.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) and former presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Dr. Ben Carson have campaigned actively in Silicon Valley.

The Chronicle notes that some techies have taken issue with Trump’s proposed idea of “closing areas” of the Internet to combat terrorism.

However, Trump seemed to clarify those remarks at the GOP debate in Las Vegas in December when he said that “as far as the Internet is concerned. I’m not talking about closing the Internet. I’m talking about parts of Syria, parts of Iraq, where ISIS is, spotting it. Now, you could close it. what I like even better than that, is getting our smartest and getting our best, to infiltrate their Internet, so, that we know exactly where they’re going, exactly where they’re going to be. I like that better.”

Trumps opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has also struck a raw nerve with many Silicon Valley tech elites, the Chronicle notes.

According to the California-China Office of Trade and Investment, the Golden State is America’s number one state importer from China. In 2012, California imported $128.8 billion in merchandise goods from China, which is equivalent to 30 percent of all U.S. imports from China. That same years, the U.S. imported $431.2 billion in merchandise goods from China.

Furthermore, Trump’s intention to end the H-1B visa program, on which many tech companies rely as an inexpensive alternative to paying American workers higher wages, has rubbed some in Silicon Valley the wrong way.

Trump has said that he still supports making legal immigration easier for skilled people.

The San Francisco Republican Party Chairwoman, Christine Hughes, told the Chronicle that Trump’s decision making is “scary.” She has in the past reportedly hosted fundraisers for Rubio, Kasich and Carson. Unlike Trump, Rubio has long been hailed as the “tech exec savior,” particularly over his support for the H-1B visa program and his more liberal immigration stance.

The quiet pro-Trump constituency in Silicon Valley is reluctant to come forward for fear of being attacked by their liberal counterparts. But Trump’s managerial style, which critics deride as erratic and authoritarian, is actually an approach favored by many in the high-tech world.

Trump has “disrupted” the political world, much as Silicon Valley entrepreneurs aim to disrupt traditional ways of business.

That has many in Silicon Valley quietly cheering for The Donald.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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