Posted by: Lena Weiner
election 2012, Larry Ellison, Oracle, Silicon Valley, wealth
If you’re a news and politics junkie like me, you probably stumbled into work more than a bit groggy this morning, possibly also a tad hung over, either because you celebrated President Obama’s re-election or needed a few gulps of something strong to take the edge off of watching the guy you thought would make a great (or, at the very least, slightly better) leader get hosed by voters. Personally, I stayed up until a bit past midnight waiting on both victory and concession speeches before deciding I needed sleep more than I needed to see history happen in real time.
Now that Obama’s re-election is official, I think it’s important to take a look at who got him there — and who didn’t. An interesting trend that has been remarked upon by several different websites, analysts and pundits has been Silicon Valley’s growing shift to the left. This is in stark contrast to other fields of business, which tend to favor the right. What caused this liberalism among Silicon Valley techies? Perhaps the biggest motivator might be Obama’s stance on immigration reform, as the Valley draws many of the most talented programmers and developers from all over the world. Stricter immigration laws could hurt the ability of Silicon Valley companies to recruit talent or employ the people they want. Education, stem cell research and copyright laws are other hot topics for Silicon Valley residents and businesses.
Of course, there are variations. The Valley’s strong libertarian streak has been noted as well. A proud member of the 1% and proponent of a national ID card program, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison donated $5,000 to Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign, as well as to the senatorial campaign of now-defeated GOP incumbent Scott Brown in Massachusetts. His employees, however, did not follow his example — Oracle workers gave a combined $334,940 to Obama’s campaign, while they donated only $63,478 (including Larry’s donation) to Romney.
How will the results of the election affect Silicon Valley, the tech industry and business in America? The only predictions I’m willing to make are a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans and possible patent reform for the tech industry — neither of which are likely to put Larry Ellison in a great mood.