Silicon Valley billionaires are reportedly committing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a quest to rejuvenate the Democratic Party.
Zynga Co-Founder Mark Pincus and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman have reportedly pledged $500,000 to “Win the Future” (WTF), which was described by Vanity Fair as an effort to harness “the power of the Internet to crowdsource ideas for a new center-left platform that’s guaranteed to be a hit with the Sun Valley set.”
“Think of WTF as equal parts platform and movement. Its new website will put political topics up for a vote — and the most resonant ideas will form the basis of the organization’s orthodoxy,” reported Recode this week. “To start, the group will query supporters on two campaigns: Whether or not they believe engineering degrees should be free to all Americans, and if they oppose lawmakers who don’t call for Trump’s immediate impeachment.”
“Participants can submit their own proposals for platform planks — and if they win enough support, primarily through likes and retweets on Twitter, they’ll become part of WTF’s political DNA, too,” they continued. “Meanwhile, WTF plans to raise money in a bid to turn its most popular policy positions into billboard ads that will appear near airports serving Washington, D.C., ensuring that ‘members of Congress see it.'”
WTF, which currently has six employees and “additional backing” from former Walt Disney Studios Chairman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and venture capitalists Fred Wilson and Sunil Paul, is reportedly Pincus’ solution to a Democratic Party that is “already moving too far to the left.”
According to Recode, Pincus wants the group to be “pro-social, pro-planet, and pro-business.”
“I just don’t feel respected in the political process as a large donor or as a citizen voter,” expressed Pincus in an interview. “I just feel patronized. Everything I get is like, ‘Hey, you couldn’t possibly, it’s too complex and sophisticated what really goes on,’ and ‘Hey, leave it to us, and we will go and represent you and fight the good fight, and just give us money.’”
In their article, Vanity Fair remained unconvinced with the group’s pitch.
“While the Democratic Party may be in need of reform, the Silicon Valley vision for a millennial-friendly upgrade seems fatally flawed,” proclaimed writer Maya Kosoff. “At a time when the culture seems fed up with Silicon Valley navel-gazing, Win the Future brings to the table the worst aspects of the tech industry: the arrogance to think that politics can be ‘hacked’; the hubris to think that they are the one to overhaul it; and a total misunderstanding of the system they’re trying to disrupt.”
“At one point in his interview with Recode, Pincus clumsily compared politics to the video game industry a decade ago,” she continued, before adding, “To Pincus’s credit, the popularity of FarmVille does evince a real understanding of human psychology (even if it is convincing people to pay real money for virtual Farm Cash). And Pincus is right that the political system is needlessly exclusive, and failing to serve a broad swath of people who have become disillusioned with Washington.”
“Yet it’s hard to see how anyone could look at the results of the 2016 election and walk away thinking that what America needs now is a business-friendly, crowd-sourced agenda based on Twitter polls, whose underlying purpose seems effectively indistinguishable from the Innovation party, or No Labels, or Third Way, or Unity08 (or the effort to recruit Michael Bloomberg, who Pincus reportedly tried to sell Hoffman on in 2015),” Kosoff concluded, claiming that the progressive activists she spoke to “were similarly skeptical.”