Thursday, February 16, 2012

"President Obama Courts Silicon Valley’s New Digital Aristocracy "

This is not new* but it is a really big deal
From New Geography:
President Obama’s San Francisco fundraiser with the tech elites today, along with the upcoming IPO for Facebook, marks the emergence of a new, potentially dominant political force well on its way to surpassing Hollywood and even Wall Street as the business bulwark of the Obama Democratic Party.

In 2008 the industry gave Obama more than $9 million, three times what it raised for any other politician; it was the first time the digerati outspent Hollywood. The numbers will surely go up this year.
“The Facebook instant millionaires and billionaires are about all Democrats,” said Morley Winograd, a longtime California Democratic activist and chronicler of information-age politics. “There’s an enormous amount of power residing there—and it will only get greater.”

Even when they’ve competed with and acted like more established power brokers, the digital ruling class are treated with kid gloves compared to other wealthy elites, rarely suffering the disdain aimed at amoral bankers and at Hollywood’s general venality. Instead, the creators of our iPhones, social networks and Twitter accounts are held up as tool makers and business titans. That esteem is most pronounced among millenials, 75 percent of whom use social media, more than twice the percentage for boomers, according to Pew. When asked what makes their generation “unique,” the most common answer to the open-ended question is technology.

In effect, it’s OK to be in the “1 percent”—or even the .0001 percent—if you develop nifty devices and invest in green companies. "We live in a bubble, and I don't mean a tech bubble or a valuation bubble. I mean a bubble as in our own little world," Google chairman Eric Schmidt recently told the San Francisco Chronicle. "And what a world it is: companies can't hire people fast enough. Young people can work hard and make a fortune. Homes hold their value. Occupy Wall Street isn't really something that comes up in daily discussion, because their issues are not our daily reality."

For their part, the “Occupiers” who struggled mightily to shut down the blue-collar Port of Oakland seem to never have considered an action against the pampered techies at Facebook’s lavish campus.
The new plutocrats are unburdened by the obligations that come with existing large institutions; with no union presence, they don’t have to worry about anxious retirees or redundant older workers. Green pet causes that align with their financial interests buy more cover from the left, while conservatives, who rarely see anything wrong with extreme wealth, seem somewhat unconscious about the political orientation of the emerging new elite. Ninety-two percent of Facebook executive donations so far this year went to Democrats. This exceeds even the rock-solid support the Democrats enjoy among more established firms like Google and Apple, where support for Democrats runs to the high 80s. Although its former CEO, Meg Whitman, ran as the Republican candidate for governor in 2010, 96 percent of eBay-associated donations went to Democrats. The Seattle area’s two top digital firms, Amazon and Microsoft make two thirds or more of their donations to Democrats.

The Obama administration’s opposition to the anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA came despite intense lobbying for the bill by his party’s long-time allies in Hollywood. Whatever the bills’ failings, their defeat also formally introduced the new power of the digerati moguls and their millions of followers. The presence of Steve Jobs's wife, Lauren, as Michelle Obama’s guest at the State of the Union speech further cemented the ever-closer ties between the valley’s upper echelon and the president’s party....MORE
*June 5, 2008 
Can Silicon Valley Deal Makers Take the Credit For Obama’s Success? Or was it Wall Street?

Nov. 5, 2010 
Venture Capitalists love-hate relationship with the GOP
From our Nov. 2, '09 post "California: "John Doerr For Governor?"":

...The bigwigs of the valley were serious Obamaniacs in the run-up to the general election even while Santa Clara county went for Hillary, 53.8%, to Barack Obama's 41.1% in the primary.
We had a couple others* that may be of interest....

...*Obama names valley tech leaders John Doerr, Charles Phillips to economic recovery board

Obama Shelves Jobs-Credit Proposal

...London Times -Aug. 25, 2008
Why Silicon Valley is backing Obama
Senator Barack Obama doesn't have any particular expertise in technology policy, nor any backround in business. Like many Democrats, he's ambivalent about free trade, in favour of higher taxes on the wealthy, and officially suspicious of the corporate elite.
Yet in Silicon Valley, and throughout the "New Economy," Obama enjoys overwhelming support, and the backing of this relatively small but influential segment of the electorate is central to his presidential bid...
From the New York Times -May 14, 2008:
Obama Green Talk Is Gold to Silicon Va

The Atlantic -June 2008:
The Amazing Money Machine
How Silicon Valley made Barack Obama this year’s hottest start-up