The Washington Post suggested that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) remains skeptical of populist moves to break up Big Tech, while many other 2020 Democrat presidential candidates continue to rail against America’s largest technology companies.
While many 2020 Democrat presidential candidates have increasingly criticized America’s largest and most influential technology companies, the Post, which is owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, wrote how Booker “stands athwart this zeitgeist of pitchfork populism, yelling stop.”
Booker appeared on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, contending that he disagrees with Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) call to break up Facebook, Google, and Amazon, suggesting that the Massachusetts senator was channeling some of President Donald Trump’s populist rhetoric.
“I don’t think that … I don’t think that a president should be running around, pointing at companies and saying ‘break them up’ without any kind of process here,” said Booker. “It’s not me and my own personal opinion about going after folks. That sounds more like a Donald Trump thing to say, ‘I’m going to break up you guys.’ No. We need to create systems and processes.”
Booker’s statement arises as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), another 2020 presidential candidate, joined the populist coalition to break up Facebook.
“It is essentially a utility that has gone unregulated, and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s got to stop,” Harris said on Sunday. “Facebook has experienced massive growth and has prioritized its growth over the best interests of its consumers, especially on the issue of privacy.”
Despite Booker’s reservation about breaking up the social media giants, the Post wrote that the New Jersey Democrat has cautioned about the “ill effects” of “corporate consolidation” and once called for antitrust action against Google in 2017.
However, Booker’s friendly relationship with Silicon Valley calls into question his criticism of Big Tech. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to support schools in Newark, New Jersey, during Booker’s second term as mayor of Newark, and the senator even touted his close relationship with Zuckerberg during his Senate campaign in 2013.
Booker has also received over half a million dollars from the Internet industry over his past five years in the U.S. Senate.
As Booker seeks to gain further support from 2020 Democrat primary voters, he will have to walk a delicate line between his Silicon Valley donors and the Democrats’ voter base, which has become increasingly critical of Silicon Valley’s influence in America.
“Cory Booker is the Manchurian candidate of Silicon Valley. I believe they have cultivated him and groomed him,” said Jamarlin Martin, a political activist serving black audiences. “He’s going to run into problems as the public becomes more aware that he’s in bed with our generation’s Big Tobacco.”