Silicon Valley might have a friend in the White House as Harris joins Biden ticket

Senator Kamala Harris has been selected as the running mate for Presidential hopeful Joe Biden, a decision which might pique the interest of Silicon Valley’s residents.

Having said he would select a female running mate in March, Biden narrowed the field, though Harris has been one of the bookies favourites from the beginning of the process. Interestingly enough, looking through the contributor data, the telecoms and technology industry might well be interested in this appointment also.

Thanks to Center for Responsive Politics, an organisation which details the absurd amount of money which flows around the US political system, we can see seven of the top 20 contributors to Harris’ campaigns over the 2020 cycle are from the telecoms and technology industry:

  • $53,975 – AT&T
  • $53,329 – Alphabet
  • $47,196 – Walt Disney
  • $42,261 – Comcast
  • $34,861 – Microsoft
  • $32,375 – Amazon
  • $23,948 – Apple

Eight of the top 20 contributors might not sound like a lot, but when you remove the seven university or public sector contributors, the telecoms and technology industry starts to account for a much higher proportion of private industry.

Looking at some of the other names who were linked to the Presidential campaign either as a nominee or running mate, the TMT industry accounted for six of the top 20 contributors for Elizabeth Warren, eight for Beto O’Rourke, three for Cory Booker, eight for Pete Buttigieg and three for Amy Klobuchar. InterSystems contributed $2,501,991 to Joe Biden’s campaign, but otherwise there were no other names from the telecoms or technology space in his top 20 contributors.

Some attracted more interest from the telecoms and technology space, but Harris was certainly a popular name. Alphabet, Microsoft and AT&T seemed to be the most common contributors.

Contributions to Democrat politicians linked to Presidency nomination
Politician Alphabet Microsoft AT&T
Cory Booker $54,217 $46,372
Pete Buttigieg $323,276 $147,206 $156,095
Julian Castro $16,311 $16,683
Tulsi Gabbard $34,407 $37,897 $25,324
Kamala Harris $53,975 $34,861 $53,975
Amy Klobuchar $62,076 $44,004
Beto O’Rourke $32,646 $29,485 $22,313
Bernie Sanders $1,033,241 $443,085
Elizabeth Warren $733,131 $219,669 $152,805

This is far from an exhaustive list, and other technology companies did regularly feature, Apple and Amazon for example, however these three seemed the most active.

By way of comparison, there isn’t a single company from the telecoms or technology industry which features in the top 20 contributors for President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence.

Cynics of today’s political system would suggest politicians are materially influenced by contributors and lobbyists, therefore the money fuelling these campaigns is very important. It might well be a coincidence, but this Republican administration has targeted Silicon Valley and the wider influence of the technology industry more than previous administrations.

As a comparison, during Barack Obama’s 2012 cycle, the beginning of a period where the influence of the technology industry gained momentum, had a few very notable names.

Contributors to Obama during 2012 Presidency cycle
Contributor Contribution
Microsoft $815,645
Google $804,249
University of California $1,350,139
Time Warner $447,521
IBM $370,491
Walt Disney $369,598

Campaign finances are somewhat of a boring topic but could go some way to indicating how a Presidential administration works with certain industries. The Obama Presidency was fuelled by the technology and media industries, and it just so happened that heavy net neutrality regulation was introduced during this period. Today, the technology industry is being attacked by Washington, and coincidentally it did not assist President Trump in reaching the White House.

It does appear those in the White House do not forget who helped them get there. With Harris on the Biden ticket, the campaign currently favoured by the bookmakers, perhaps Silicon Valley will once again have a friend in the White House.

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