Clinton enjoying edge over Trump in Silicon Valley

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Hillary Clinton will seek to widen her lead over Donald Trump in Silicon Valley on Wednesday, when she heads to the Bay Area for a series of fundraisers and meetings.

Clinton has close ties to the valley.

{mosads}Her list of Hillblazers — donors who have contributed to or raised more than $100,000 for her campaign — includes influential tech leaders like Google CFO Ruth Porat and Napster founder Sean Parker.

Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, also counts Silicon Valley gatekeepers like venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Chris Sacca among her supporters.

She frequently travels to northern California, a strategy that echoes the one tech-savvy President Obama used in the Golden State during his election campaigns.

She’ll attend a fundraiser on Wednesday night hosted by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson. Earlier on Wednesday, she’s scheduled to attend a fundraiser in Palo Alto hosted by Amy Rao, the founder and CEO of Integrated Archive Systems. 

Clinton is expected to clear approximately $4 million at the two events.

Both boast pricey entrance fees to help bolster her fundraising efforts. Tickets to the Rao luncheon are as high as $27,000, while tickets to the Cook event can be purchased for up to $100,000.

Her trip follows running mate Tim Kaine’s visit to the Bay Area on Sunday for fundraisers in San Francisco and Portola Valley, where contributions ranged from $1,000 to $27,000. Kaine also held a fundraiser in Atherton, where contributions ranged from $33,400 to $50,000, according to Clinton’s website. Kaine is expected to return there before Election Day. 

Cook’s support of Clinton is endemic of a larger problem for Trump, the Republican presidential nominee: his many missed opportunities to raise money from the hyper-wealthy elites of Silicon Valley.

Cook has supported members of both parties in the past, including Democrats like Obama and Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), but he hasn’t given a dime to Trump this cycle.

Other players in tech who have supported and fundraised for Republicans in the past have also refused to donate to Trump, like Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who gave millions to groups supporting Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during their presidential bids, and HP CEO Meg Whitman, who endorsed Romney in 2012. Whitman is supporting Clinton this election cycle, despite saying she doesn’t agree with the Democratic nominee on many issues.

Trump’s hard-line stances on free trade and immigration are tough sells in Silicon Valley. His comments calling for a boycott against Apple for not complying with FBI requests to help unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters involved in the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. — in which the tech industry strongly supported Apple — may have further alienated him from the sector.

A collective inability to stomach Trump in Silicon Valley has helped give Clinton an edge there.

“Anecdotally, there is enormous enthusiasm and momentum behind her candidacy in Silicon Valley,” said Tucker Bounds, the co-creator of the popular political startup Sidewire who also served as a spokesman for Arizona Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. 

Bounds said he attributes part of Clinton’s enthusiastic support to the success of the region under the administration of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, which was supportive of favorable regulatory policies regarding the internet. 

And the tech community has rallied against the “totally unacceptable choice on the Republican side of the ticket,” Bounds said.

“She could almost be a nameless, faceless nominee, and there would still be complete opposition to Trump and what Trump stands for,” he said.  

Bounds noted Trump’s fierce anti-immigration and anti-free-trade policies. Clinton has also opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal backed by the Obama administration, but opposition to the deal is more deeply ingrained in Trump’s message.

“Tech companies in the tech sector thrive on global reach, and the Googles and Facebooks and Apples of the world exist because the U.S. has been a strong leading global citizen and has had success penetrating into international markets,” Bounds said, adding that the alternative is seen as “high risk and threatening American leadership.” 

Clinton’s liberal social views on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and climate change are also an advantage, say her allies.

“Republicans in Silicon Valley seem to be rallying around Hillary, and one of the reasons why is there are two main social issues that the tech community feels very strongly about,” said one former Clinton aide, saying that LGBT rights and immigration are the most important.

“The tech community in general is very pro-immigration, and you see that in lots of startups,” the former aide said. “I don’t know one Republican out here who is supporting Trump. People here actually think his immigration views are anti-business.”

Sacca offered a similar explanation for why he felt Republicans in tech weren’t supporting Trump. 

“From a business standpoint, his stance on immigration would deprive Silicon Valley of so much of the engineering talent that makes this the world’s most important hub for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Sacca said in a lengthy email to The Hill detailing the harms of a potential Trump presidency. 

Trump has raised just $336,000 from the tech and communication sectors through June, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Two former Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, raised more than seven times what Trump has received.

The lack of a Trump presence in Silicon Valley has been a surprise to some in the region, given how past Republican candidates have campaigned.

“Trump has no presence out here. I mean, it’s absurd,” a Clinton donor said. “Romney had a little, but when you compare Romney to Trump it’s orders of magnitude. … I haven’t seen a single Trump bumper sticker out here.”

Clinton, on the other hand, is out in California about twice as often as Obama was, with visits almost every month. “She comes here a ton. Initially, I thought: Could the market really support that? But it’s exceeded my personal expectations.”

The donor gave Clinton’s team credit for getting Apple “off its a–” since the tech giant had never previously played a role in politics, and people who worked for it had tended to stay away as well.

“She’s getting people to write bigger checks than they were before,” the donor said. “I think everyone feels like she’s going to be a continuation of Obama and understanding, appreciating tech.”

Sacca echoed those comments in his email to The Hill.

“Hillary Clinton has gone well out of her way to listen and learn from Silicon Valley and build the relationships and recruit the talent reassuring all of us here that innovation and entrepreneurship will have an ally in the White House,” he wrote. “This is something I and many of my peers are very excited about.” 

This story has been updated. 

Tags Apple Bill Clinton California Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Hillary Clinton John McCain Marco Rubio Paul Ryan Rand Paul Rob Portman Silicon Valley Tim Kaine

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