Donald Trump invited Apple and Amazon to join the $1 trillion "MAGA club," but Silicon Valley's insiders are backing Bernie Sanders.
President Donald Trump has unofficially licensed his MAGA slogan to Silicon Valley’s four most prestigious companies: Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
Speaking to the media this week, Trump hailed the four firms – each of which is worth more than $1 trillion – as evidence of his presidency’s success.
For 144 days, we set a record stock market. It means 401Ks, it means jobs. Four trillion dollar companies: Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft. You have MAGA. The trillion dollar club.
But if campaign donations at these companies are anything to go by, insiders at the four tech giants wouldn’t be caught dead chanting the MAGA slogan or wearing the famous red hat.
Apple insiders, for instance, are donating only $1 to the Trump campaign for every $55 sent to his best-performing Democratic challenger: Bernie Sanders.
This despite Apple and its stock benefitting greatly from the Trump presidency.
The Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 reduced Apple’s tax rate by nearly 10%. This enabled the iPhone maker to return billions of dollars to shareholders via dividends and stock buybacks.
Since the tax cuts, Apple’s stock price has more than doubled.
Amazon and Google have benefitted from Trump’s protectionist tendencies too.
Most recently, Trump attacked European plans to impose a digital services tax on U.S. tech firms and threatened to pursue retaliatory tariffs. France, the leading supporter of the tax measure, bowed to the pressure – albeit temporarily – thanks to Trump.
It’s no secret that Silicon Valley leans left politically, but the current trend defies logic.
As of February 3rd, Big Tech insiders had donated overwhelmingly to candidates who have threatened to disrupt U.S. tech leviathans. All the while giving peanuts to the candidate most likely to maintain the status quo.
At Microsoft, insiders have donated $166,399 to Bernie Sanders, $145,714 to Pete Buttigieg, and $103,705 to Elizabeth Warren. They have contributed just $19,163 to the Trump campaign.
From Apple, Bernie Sanders received $145,600, Warren $100,296, and Buttigieg $88,652. Trump brought in a paltry $2,654.
A similar trend was replicated at Amazon, where Sanders got $213,945, Warren $102,225, and Buttigieg $98,288. Trump received $11,147.
And from Alphabet, Trump got $7,793 against Warren’s $304,318, Sanders’ $297,705, and Buttigieg’s $242,249.
Joe Biden, long the presumptive Democratic frontrunner, also underperformed his progressive rivals by a wide margin.
In this election cycle, the socialist-leaning Democratic presidential candidates have not missed an opportunity to bash tech giants. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both expressly stated that they will break up Silicon Valley’s largest companies if they win the presidency.
In December, Sanders stated in response to a question from Vox:
When in the White House, I will reinvigorate the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and appoint an Attorney General who will aggressively investigate and break up these tech giants and other conglomerates that have monopolized nearly every sector of our economy.
Sanders is also on record criticizing Google for being “too big” and “too powerful.”
This was Warren’s response to the same Vox question:
To make our government and our economy work, we need to stop big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor. That means breaking up Big Tech.
While not expressly calling for the dismantling of powerful Silicon Valley giants, Pete Buttigieg responded that “breaking up tech companies should be an option.”
Protest vote or not, how insiders at the “MAGA club” companies are donating to political campaigns in the 2020 election cycle seems a bit baffling.