Silicon Valley is known for being left-leaning. Technologists are known for spending their wealth on gender equality and eliminating homelessness. Sometimes, they even propose higher taxes on the very rich–that is, themselves. This generous support was most recently shown in the form Gavin Newsom’s support for California governor, who is currently facing recall in a September special elections. It’s not surprising that Newsom has received donations by a select circle of tech luminaries including Eric Schmidt and Marissa Mayer. Reed Hastings, the CEO and founder of Netflix, donated $3 Million to the Stop the Republican Recall Of Governor Newsom committee. The California Democratic Party has contributed $2.15million to the effort. This is in contrast to donations from the media and tech industries, which range from $5.6 million to $233,000 according to Cal Matters. However, a small group of technocrats are trying oust Newsom to create a new California. While some, such as Larry Ellison, Oracle cofounder, are well-known Republicans who have donated to Newsom’s 2018 campaign, others support more progressive politics. They view his politics as an enemy to a thriving tech industry. Former Facebook executive and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya described California as an “inhospitable cultural for innovation” due to high income taxes and government regulation. Palihapitiya, a former supporter of Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton, donated $100,000 to Rescue California, one the main groups behind this recall. He also created a website at chamathforca.com that detailed his political agenda. However, he clarified that he is not running to replace Newsom. He said, “Let’s just be honest,” on his podcast that he was not ready to do any such thing.”) Venture capitalist David Sacks also donated money to Rescue California. He pointed out Newsom’s “total failure–on locks, schools, crime homelessness, fires” as the reason for his reversal of stance on Twitter. (Neither Palihapitiya or Sacks responded to WIRED emails. Although Palihapitiya’s and Sacks might seem outliers in Silicon Valley’s Burning Man-esque ethos, their views are representative of a larger group. Researchers at Stanford examined the political attitudes of the tech elite in 2017. They found that they were “completely different” from other groups. Neil Malhotra, the researcher, said that wealthy entrepreneurs are progressive and cosmopolitan and promote issues such as gay marriage, gun control, free trade, and free trade. They favor social services and economic redistribution. Techies are known for their strong dislike of government regulation, especially in the area of labor. Although they lean left in many ways Malhotra claims technocrats don’t consider themselves liberals but rather “liberal-tarians.” For decades tech CEOs were firmly Republican–“of the fiscally conservative, socially liberal variety that doesn’t actually exist anymore,” Margaret O’Mara (a political historian and the author of The Code: Silicon Valley, the Remaking of America) wrote in an email. Most technologists have allied with Democrats since the Clinton era. They were able to work with the industry. O’Mara says that a smaller group has remained more libertarian. “The Valley has always been impatient about politics as usual, however its leaders–and donors–generally have fallen into one of two camps.” Democrats are more inclined to align with those who believe that “government is necessary and just requires improvement via Silicon Valley-style innovations.” Republicans are more aligned with those who want government to stay out their businesses in camp 2. These camps have often blurred or acted according to their own rules in the past. Peter Thiel, one the Valley’s most prominent libertarians donated $57,400 for Newsom’s 2019 campaign. (The PayPal founder has since moved to Miami.

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