Silicon Valley leaders are befuddled as both political parties — and venture capital giant Peter Thiel — are rejecting their agenda, which includes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, expanded H1-B immigration visas, new autonomous vehicles regulations, and “gig economy” worker reclassification.
With Trump’s prospects for winning the presidency skyrocketing after the FBI reopened the Hillary Clinton email probe, Peter Thiel gave a major address at the National Press Club on Halloween.
Thiel said, “Silicon Valley has been incredibly successful over the last decade.” But for America, “I think the truth has been more one of specific success, but more general failure.” He blamed tech leaders for not improving the welfare outside Silicon Valley.
“I have a somewhat schizophrenic view of politics,” Thiel said. “It’s a horrible business, incredibly destructive. A lot like trench warfare on the Western Front.” But he added, “We’re voting for Trump because we judge the leadership of our country to have failed.”
Silicon Valley before 2008 was politically bipartisan and tried to work its agenda quietlywith both parties. But Barack Obama’s heavy reliance on social media was fostered by Facebook founder Chris Hughes, who quit his start-up to be an early member of the obscure first term Illinois U.S. Senator’s strategy team to win the Democrat primary nomination.
Hughes rallied Silicon Valley venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to back Obama and fund a big piece of his presidential campaign. After Obama was elected president, he relied on Silicon Valley insiders to craft a new White House business model that created “a trifecta of executive positions in his Administration modeled on corporate best practices: chief technology officer, chief data scientist, and chief performance officer.”
In appreciation for Silicon Valley’s overwhelming support, President Obama and the Democrats adopted Silicon Valley’s policy agenda.
Demonstrating Silicon Valley’s continuing Democrat commitment, Breitbart News reported in August that of the 200 major Silicon Valley tech companies’ presidential campaign contributions, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders picked up 36,071 separate donors, according to a report compiled by the non-partisan Crowdpac, which tracks campaign donations. But just 52 tech donations went to Republican Donald Trump.
Of the $8.1 million given by Silicon Valley tech executives and employees in the presidential campaigns through September 2016, Democrat Clinton received 95 percent, or $7.7 million, and Republican Donald Trump only took in $299,000, or 4 percent.
Although the campaign contributions for October have not been released, Breitbart News reported that top venture capitalist and Facebook director Peter Thiel shocked Silicon Valley by making a $1.25 million mid-October donation to Republican Donald Trump.
But Silicon Valley CEOs have also funded a large number of supposedly bipartisan “nonprofit groups,” such as FWD.us, that lobbies for “technology industry interests,” including open borders for undocumented immigrants and unlimited H-1B tech visas.
Despite Silicon Valley’s overwhelming cash and volunteer support for Hillary Clinton, a tenacious Republican Donald Trump continually managed to get huge amounts “earned media” through his relentless populist attacks on what has been Silicon Valley’s agenda.
Feeling the heat for months, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats had to distance themselves from Silicon Valley by fully opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Although Hillary Clinton in March committed to a blanket amnesty and citizenship for undocumented workers, by October she had triangulated back a promise to introduce bi-partisan “comprehensive immigration reform” in her first 100 days.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bradley Tusk, CEO of Tusk Holdings, told CNBC that Silicon Valley now expects to be disappointed by a Hillary Clinton presidency, if she does prevail over Donald Trump on November 8.
Tusk worries that despite big support from Apple, Alphabet and Facebook for more H-1B visas and for open borders to recruit get more foreign engineers, “I think they’re going to have trouble on that issue.”
Due to Trump’s populist campaign, Tusk now sees that increased opposition from trucking unions, insurance companies and some auto manufacturers will mean that a Clinton presidency will not prioritize new regulations to promote autonomous driving.
He is also pessimistic about new federal worker reclassifications for the “gig economy” and suspects that Clinton “will almost certainly appoint a left wing Secretary of Labor — to appease Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.”