Duel of Silicon Valley billionaires over Trump and the midterms

Supporters of US President Donald Trump participate in the MAGA Million March to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election in front of the US Capitol on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Olivier Dulery | AFP | Getty Images

This week, two Silicon Valley billionaires are holding political fundraisers to showcase their chosen candidates in this fall’s midterm elections and highlight a growing division in the business community.

In one corner is LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, who is rallying corporate executives to oust politicians who support former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against him.

On Thursday, Hoffman hosted a fundraiser in San Francisco with Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson and venture capitalist Ron Conway, an early investor in Google and Paypal.

Tickets for the event, which featured an informal conversation with former President Barack Obama, cost between $36,500 and $250,000, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by CNBC. Donations from the event will go to the Grassroots Democratic Victory Fund, which funnels money to state parties.

Hoffman’s political adviser Dmitry Mehlhorn said Hoffman is building a coalition in the business community to oppose the so-called MAGA Republicans.

The effort, dubbed “Investing in the USA,” is made up of executives who are concerned that the MAGA movement could undermine future elections and, ultimately, the rule of law that allowed capitalism to flourish. MAGA, or “Make America Great Again,” has been Trump’s battle cry ever since he began running for the White House in 2015.

“Their primary mission is now anti-business,” Mehlhorn said, referring to MAGA Republicans and the criticism they have leveled at companies like Coke, Disney and Delta because of their social stance.

So they’re coming for us? Oh sure. And the question is, “Should we fight?” said Mehlhorn, who leads the Hoffman coalition.

But the coalition faces formidable and familiar adversaries.

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel also invested heavily in the midterms, backing Trump-backed conservative Republicans.

CNBC reported that Thiel plans to host a fundraiser Friday at his Los Angeles home for his former protégé, Blake Masters, a Republican running to represent Arizona in the Senate. Tickets for this event are on sale for up to $11,600.

In July, Thiel sent $1.5 million to the Saving Arizona Super PAC.

Earlier this month, speaking at a national conservatism conference in Miami, Thiel accused Google, Apple and Facebook of causing political dysfunction in the United States.

“All these big companies screwed up,” he told the audience. “But it’s a superstructure that’s really, really abnormal.”

The message resonated with conservatives.

In a congressional hearing earlier this month, Senator Tom Cotton, D-Arkansas, dismissed the so-called ESG, or environmental, social, and governance investment movement, as an attempt to “arm corporations to change society in a way that voters never approve at the ballot box.” “.

Last week, the Conservative Political Action Coalition sent a letter to Republicans in the House of Representatives urging them not to meet with businesses that have spoken out on issues such as election laws, abortion and transgender rights.

“Since the last election, Woke leaders have turned their backs on conservative leaders,” the letter said. “Conservatives will take control, led by activists and entrepreneurs who are exhausted and humiliated by the radical left-wing politics pursued by these public companies.”

But not all Republicans agree with this approach.

Asked by CNBC if he stands by the promise, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-California, said he’s not shutting any doors.

“I date everyone. How can you have a dialogue about how to make changes?” McCarthy said.

“It doesn’t mean whether I agree with someone or not, but I will meet anyone in the process.”

Even Thiel suggested that Republicans might have to tone down their rhetoric in the long run.

During his speech in Miami, Thiel said that the Republican Party does not seem to have the electoral momentum of the “Republican Revolution” led by Newt Gingrinch in 1994 or the Tea Party movement in 2010.

And Thiel warned against mere protest against what he called “awakened madness.”

“My intuition is that this kind of nihilistic denial is probably not enough,” he said. “Maybe enough to win the midterm elections on the 22nd. That might be enough to win on the 24th. But we want to have something that is more like a software-positive vision — something like that to inspire confidence.”

Meanwhile, by investing in the US, play big matches across the country. For example, Hoffman and Carla Jurvetson, a Silicon Valley philanthropist who was previously married to an early SpaceX and Tesla investor, had a virtual chat last month with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is now the Democratic nominee for governor.

Shapiro is running against Doug Mastriano, a Republican who was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots over his alleged role in drafting an alternate voter list to hand over the presidential election to Trump. In an email to his fellow executives and donors, Hoffman pledged the first $500,000 in donations to Shapiro raised at his event.

“Whether or not the United States has a democratic system based on a peaceful transition of power in 2024 depends on Josh Shapiro being able to defeat Doug Mastriano for governor of Pennsylvania this fall,” the email said.

Mehlhorn told CNBC that the results of the midterm elections will show the strength of Trump’s GOP allies and determine whether their crusade against corporate America can continue.

“We believe that the business community has an insufficient assessment of the nature of the threat,” he said.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button