How Silicon Valley went from Republican to Democrat | Margaret O’Mara


For a long time, the Valley was Republican
leaning; it was the few people who were Democrats who felt few and far between. And I’m thinking, you know, in the ’60s and
the ’70s, and into the ’80s, into the Reagan era. The business leaders were, you know, there
were like other business leaders. They tended to vote Republican. The great eminence of Silicon Valley Dave
Packard, who was the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, such an incredible influence on Valley’s business
culture, but also its political culture. He was a really important Republican supporter
and donor. He was President Nixon’s deputy secretary
of defense. He was a political entrepreneur. He had this political career that he continued
throughout his life. But this starts turning in the early 1990s. And the person who really personally helps
turn it is Bill Clinton, who is, you know, the Democrats had been talking admiringly
about techies for a while. In the early ’80s, there was a group of Democrats
in Congress that talked so much about tech that Washington journalists started calling
them the Atari Democrats. Because they were like, “This is the future. We need to support technological industries.” It’s really funny, because politicians talked
a lot about tech, but tech didn’t really love them back. It was interesting — I found, again and again,
these efforts during the ’80s, people like Gary Hart coming out and trying to get to
know Steve Jobs, and get him to sort of publicly endorse Hart’s presidential run in 1984, for
example. And Jobs was uninterested, you know, he never
voted. In 1984, he admitted he’d never voted in his
life. I hope, later, he did vote, but Silicon Valley,
the younger, personal computer generation, first of all, they kind of grew up in opposition
to big government and to bureaucracies, and saw Washington politics as ossified, a sign
of things that were wrong, things that were corrupt. Look, this is the generation that came of
age during the Vietnam War and Watergate. They were very cynical about the capacity
of government and policy makers to change things for the better. They felt that what they were doing was much
more important. And they didn’t pay much attention to politics. In the 1990s, this changes. Bill Clinton starts coming out to Silicon
Valley even before he announces his run for president. Clinton was fascinated by technologists. He wasn’t and isn’t a techie himself, but
he likes powerful, interesting people, and they were also people with money, who might
give him campaign donations. And like other Democrats of his generation,
he saw the Valley as a symbol of the new economy to come. And how could this, the innovative energy
of this economy and this industry, be harnessed to bring America into the 21st century? And when Clinton picks Al Gore as his vice-presidential
running mate in 1992, that really seals the deal. Gore was one of the few people in Congress
in the ’80s who was really deeply interested in tech. Yes, he got made fun of later for appearing
to seem to say that he invented the internet, which he didn’t. And he didn’t really say that, either. But there was a small number of people, Gore
being one of them, Newt Gingrich being another — two people who are really consequential
to 1990s politics. In the ’80s, they’re in Congress, and they’re
sitting down and talking with futurists like Alvin Toffler. They’re bringing in supercomputing specialists. They’re bringing in Turing Prize winners,
and trying to understand how this world is evolving. And no one else was doing that. And these policymakers — you have Gore, you
have Gingrich, you also have Ed Markey, who’s now senator from Massachusetts. He was in the House, then, chair of the Telecom
Subcommittee — they’re paying attention. And what they’re doing is really consequential
in laying the groundwork for what happens in the Internet Age to come. It’s kind of hidden from sight. Not a lot of people are paying attention. And it’s extremely important.

55 thoughts on “How Silicon Valley went from Republican to Democrat | Margaret O’Mara”

  1. It’s a bad look throwing in with republicans given that they’ve openly embraced white supremacy instead of just being covertly supportive.

  2. Idiots scream Democrats tax and spend, Republicans slash taxes and spend. THEY push the Debt and Debit higher. NOTHING gives a Citizen of the United States the right to FORCE future generations of Citizens to pay our own bills.

  3. USA Businesses used to be more loyal to the nation / US Empire during the cold war. After the cold war big business is global and a strong US national interest gets in their way. Big business has moved beyond wanting to "open up markets" to wanting to blur national borders for a more efficient and homogeneous customer base and labor force.

  4. It’s absolutely shocking that such a forward pushing industry has been captured by the super liberal and now the ‘woke’ and then subverted into an avenue of attack against what it previously engendered.

  5. They are socially liberal and economically conservative. The woman doesn’t grasp that dichotomy. She is an ideologue who has been trained in one size fits all philosophy.

  6. Had no idea this was happening! That is what happens when you forget to turn on the lights of the mind while living in a made up Religion that speaks in tounges with Charlatan ministers that need lots of money.

  7. Very simple to understand, just follow the money that backed all this tech ventures that started from 80's till now and them will you understand who, when, where and why… as you probably remember "there is no free meal"…

  8. Republicans gave corporations unlimited power. Now that the political left is marketable to those same corporations, the Republicans are trying to backpedal and add burdensome regulations. It's their last gambit to save aging oil, pharma, and telecomm companies. It's a fascinating process to watch.

  9. Voting is useless, ALL PRESIDENTS, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ALIKE. ARE ALL PUPPETS, LOBBYISTS WITH THE MOST MONEY DETERMINES WHAT SHOTS THE PRESIDENT CAN CALL! AS LONG AS LOBBYING IS LEGAL OUR DEMOCRACY WILL ALWAYS BE THREATENED!

  10. Santa Clara Valley (aka Silicon Valley) & Bay Area at large also had a large presence of military industries (aerospace, bases & harbors, manufacturing, etc…) before the tech boom re-invention, and most of those tied to military tend to trend conservative.

  11. Voting is useless, ALL PRESIDENTS, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ALIKE. ARE ALL PUPPETS, LOBBYISTS WITH THE MOST MONEY DETERMINES WHAT SHOTS THE PRESIDENT CAN CALL! AS LONG AS LOBBYING IS LEGAL OUR DEMOCRACY WILL ALWAYS BE THREATENED!

  12. So it wasn't the rights anti science views that the educated repulsed, it was being courted as an insider that did it. GREAT. The political system is fucked, & so are we.

  13. Yeah, it could be that!
    Or it could be that contemporary Republicans are batshit crazy.

    Hmmm, an industry that has a foundation in science, and a party that has its foundation in belief/faith and thinks knowledge is fake. Why would they ever fall out?

    Hmmm, I wonder if it was Clinton/Gore or common sense?
    If only someone had put Betsy DeVos is charge of education earlier. Maybe we could have collectively worked it sooner, while packing heat, in case of bear attacks.

  14. ive been working in silicon valley since the mid 2000s, as has my father since the 70s, its nothing like what this video paints it out to be in either era lmao

  15. Silicon Valley has brought many civilization level changes to the world and that can not be underestated , but these technologies have created a working environment where unless your one of the few dozen computer scientists or IT techs or some independent quirky app developers, there's no future employment prospects for the majority of citizens. They rake in billions in advertisements though. They get ridiculous tax breaks, but give nothing back in terms of helping the communities in which they do business and so this must be addressed.

  16. Being “democrat” is not the same thing as being progressive. Silicon Valley types are left wing socially but not economically. They are yang heads in favor of regressive VAT taxes and a UBI that substitutes out strong social welfare provisions. They aren’t actually interested in class politics they want to keep economic privileges. Silicon Valley was never conservative st al. Being conservative implies socially conservative values. This is misleading. Libertarianism is right wing because it’s economically conservative values which are in practice not separable from social ones they interact and affect eachother in profound ways

  17. IMO Silicon Valley was corrupted by vulture capitalists, marketing types, lawyers (Apple especially) and MBAs. I worked there in the pre-PC days and the focus was mostly on engineering, now it is just another Wall Street set of dice. Outside the executive suite workers miss out in the creation of a successful business, pays well but not like it used to when we had a piece of the company we worked for.

  18. The change of Silicon Valley goes in line with the rest of California's move from red to blue. The generation that voted red in the 60s & 70s is dying off. At that time the GOP was still somewhat the party of Eisenhower and Goldwater. It changed into the party of Christians chicken hawks and many Californians switched parties. Yours truly included.

  19. Forward thinking people and industries have always had an affinity to liberal ideologies, naturally. This isn’t rocket science. One generation’s liberal/progress is the next generation’s common sense. You are labeled a liberal for thinking ahead and a conservative for wanting to maintain a status quo, in any society and through out time. It’s just political science 101. Additionally, the terms aren’t monolithic. Basically what I’m saying is, this is a stupid ass video dressed up to compete for clicks in this digital age of bite size documentary game.

  20. Alternate theory: most scientists are deists, agnostic, atheists, 'spiritual but not religious', or otherwise non-practicing. Scientists also tend to be more left-leaning moderates, democrats, or liberals. The republican party is rife with conservative christians that don't like hearing facts and evidence about things they don't agree with, which scientists devote their entire life to explaining. The two groups simply don't mesh very well, especially right now with our very right-wing government.

  21. I don't like moral authoritarians of any flavor. I also oppose unilateral power itself. Unilateral power leads to corruption and is inherently evil. That is why our founding fathers granted us a constitutional right to speak, to gather, and to carry guns.

  22. Silicon valley needs chopping up…

    And it's the left that want big government… conservatives want less government, more personal responsibility.

  23. Can we try Anarchism now?

    We in America are decades beyond the point-of-no-return in terms of the impending empirical collapse. We've got nothing to lose in these final death throes.

    We had so much potential as a nation. If only Americans observed history we might've been able to prevent our collapse before it became unstoppable back in the mid-1970's.

  24. #EmpiricalCollapse2034

    I feel bad for those of you who will live and die during those years. It will be hell on earth for the lower 99%.

  25. Donation wise, silicon valley has been switching to Republican. Probably due to their push back against regulation of the internet a few years back. Interesting to see what happens as Trump starts pushing new internet regulations.

  26. So a serial child rapist with no principles whatsoever turned the valley's politics into what it is today? Well isn't that a surprise.

  27. The policies they push for certainly aren't policies of the left. They are giant corporate monstrosities that should have been broken up years ago

  28. Even Margaret Thatcher invested in computers, for example they put money into Acorn, who made the BBC line of 8 bit computers for schools. This allowed the company to rapidly expand. They later spun off their RISC processor division called Acorn RISC Machines or ARM as we know them today. The idea that state shouldn’t play a nurturing role is just an ideology. Thatcher of course was a Conservative.

  29. You're talking about the 80's, and how Steve Jobs did nog vote. How was silicon valley ever republic? It has always been democratic then right?

    Silicon valley and the democrats just have the same globalist world view

Leave a Reply

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