After years of working alongside tech firms during election cycles, Democrats have apparently decided that Silicon Valley is the biggest boogeyman of the 2020 Democratic primary.
Silicon Valley.com reports that after years of praising the left-leaning companies of Silicon Valley, Democrats appear to have turned on tech firms during the 2020 Democratic primary race as they promise to crack down on or break up tech firms. So far Democratic candidates have proposed tech-focused taxes, harsh antitrust enforcement, and thorough data privacy guarantees as they take aim at tech giants such as Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon.
But, many of these candidates are using these same services to promote their campaigns. Jessica Alter of Tech For Campaigns, a group which helps Democratic candidates utilize technology in their campaigns, stated: “It’s kind of like that Facebook relationship status: ‘It’s complicated.” Democrats spent much of the Obama era cultivating strong relationships with tech firms but following years of user data privacy breaches, a multitude of scandals, and protests from some companies own employees over business practices, a new strategy has been developed.
Steve Westly, the former California state controller and a venture capital investor in Menlo Park, commented on the Democrats’ sudden change in tone stating: “The reality is, the honeymoon is over and people are rightly demanding more regulation and transparency.” Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren laid out her own plans to break up tech firms recently, under her strategy tech firms would be banned from operation marketplaces or exchanges while participating in those platforms.
Amazon, for example, would not be allowed to run its marketplace while simultaneously selling Amazon-branded products on the site under Warren’s suggestion. Large mergers of tech firms such as Facebook’s acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram would also be rolled back. According to Warren, this would make it harder for corporate giants to force smaller startup firms out of business.
Cory Booker, a graduate of Stanford with multiple ties to Silicon Valley firms and a history of involvement in the area after he co-founded a video startup, has also expressed his dissatisfaction with big tech. During a town hall event in Washington, Booker stated: “They are profiting off of our private data in ways that I think violate our basic, fundamental freedoms and rights.” Booker stated that he wanted to get back to the days when “we used to do a lot better job of enforcing antitrust laws and broke up big companies during my childhood.”
Matt Stoller, a fellow at the liberal Open Markets Institute who has expressed his support for Warren’s plans to break up big tech, stated: “The Democratic Party saw the tech executives as magicians, but it turns out they were just marketers.”
Carl Guardino, the president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, does not seem impressed with Democrats latest approach, stating: “It is in vogue right now to attack tech, and some of that is deserved and a whole lot of it is not. If the reward for success is the destruction of a company determined through a political process and not the marketplace, what message does that send to future entrepreneurs?”
Who could have predicted that Silicon Valley and the Masters of the Universe would be such a huge election topic across the aisle? Except for Breitbart Tech of course.