Silicon Valley puts its money on Hillary Clinton
Net Results: No California tech firm appears on Trump’s top-25 table of employee contributions
Oracle founder Larry Ellison: the Republican gave $5m to Donald Trump’s rival Marco Rubio during the primaries, yet election donation records indicate he has not yet donated to Trump
Donald Trump is not the candidate of choice in Silicon Valley. I’m just back from a week in the region, and California, with its jumbo jackpot of electoral college votes by which US elections are actually decided, has long been firmly in the Clinton camp.
California’s “with her”, as the campaign slogan goes, by the fifth largest margin in Democrat-leaning states. Right now, data wonk Nate Silver’s influential FiveThirtyEight.com website gives Clinton a better than 99 per cent chance of taking California and its 55 electoral votes.
That the Valley – with a few notable exceptions – is currently for Clinton is not too surprising as its companies and high-profile executives tend to go Democrat. However, it started out backing Clinton rival Bernie Sanders, who received twice as much in donations from Valley tech donors – $6 million, according to CNN – as Clinton at the time of the primary.
But votes did not follow the money. By the time of California’s early June primary, Valley voters all across its representative counties overwhelmingly marked their ballots for Clinton.
She continues to dominate there. Last week Wired had a look at campaign contribution figures and noted that Google employees led the entire corporate table on employee contributions in July. August saw a similar trend, with Google workers giving close to $100,000 to Clinton. Apple employees also feature in the Clinton top-10 for August, giving close to $30,000.
According to statistics from the US Federal Election Commission, Clinton also received large donations in August from technology company workers at Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Amazon, Cisco, Twitter, and Oracle.
By contrast, not a single Valley tech firm appears in Trump’s top-10 – or top-25 – table of employee contributions.
Back in June, as the two main party presidential candidates were all but formally confirmed, the broader technology industry was all but shunning the real estate magnate. Then Trump had received a grand total of $336,000 from the combined communications and electronics sectors, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Clinton’s campaign had netted $30 million from the same sectors.
DisasterSteve WozniakEvan Williamspublished an open letter
Even some staunch (and extremely wealthy) Republican Valley tech leaders are not exactly embracing Trump.
Oracle founder and former chief executive Larry Ellison, for example, gave a hefty $5 million to Trump rival Marco Rubio during the primaries and continues to support Rubio’s senate campaign. Yet election donation records indicate he hasn’t yet donated to Trump.
Even the Valley’s highest profile Trump supporter, entrepreneur Peter Thiel, seems lukewarm despite speaking at the Republican convention in favour of the Republican candidate. In July, a Thiel spokesperson indicated the billionaire had no plans to donate to the Trump campaign even though he gave some $2 million to support Trump rival and former HP boss Carly Fiorina in the primaries.
DonateMeg WhitmanHewlett PackardeBay
Whitman was a leading Valley fundraiser in the 2012 US presidential election when she supported Mitt Romney.
And then there’s Oculus Rift’s 24-year-old founder Palmer Luckey, who has been the target of much Valley ire since it recently emerged in a Daily Beast article that he gave a $10,000 donation to a pro-Trump organisation called Nimble America, which has pledged to campaign against Clinton via internet trolling posts. Many Oculus developers pledged to abandon the platform.
Luckey apologised in a Facebook post last week, stating: “I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners.The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views.”
HackerDemocratic National Committee
Twitter lit up with tech folks posting responses, with the hashtag #400poundhacker, trending across the US for a time. And within moments, or course, someone has set up a Twitter account for @400poundhacker.
An initial tweet read: “I will begin teaching #hacking school next week. Those who are interested please message me your social security number and body mass index.”
George Takei, Star Trek’s original Mr Sulu, tweeted what many in the Valley likely thought. “Somewhere a 400-pound hacker on the ‘cyber’ is gaining access to Trump’s tax returns. Careful who you insult, Donald.”