— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) October 2, 2019
— Ella Nilsen (@ella_nilsen) October 2, 2019
… Hunter Walk, a former product director at Google who is now a venture capitalist, calls it his “evolution.”
“To find her right on everything else and then disqualifying when it’s about my industry? Maybe that’s a little bit too precious,” said Walk. “I’m willing to say, ‘Yes, change all the other things! Uproot all these other assumptions!’ But then, oh my goodness, when she said something about tech, that’s disqualifying? Come on.”
Walk isn’t alone. Recode’s canvass of a group of major Democratic donors and fundraisers in Silicon Valley shows Warren is making significant inroads with some of tech’s wealthiest Democrats. That progress would have been unthinkable just six months ago after she called for the industry’s iconic companies to be split asunder.
Warren has not moderated her at times vitriolic rhetoric toward Silicon Valley. But tech elites are not, as often caricatured, single-issue voters driven by tech policy. And the two dozen tech executives, investors, and veteran fundraisers who spoke with Recode outlined three key reasons why their industry is making this unexpected shift toward Warren: They say they respect her policy rigor. They see her as less radical than once imagined (and especially when compared to Bernie Sanders). And perhaps most importantly, she has a reasonable path to winning the nomination, and there’s nothing Silicon Valley loves more than a winner.
What’s even more unusual is that Warren is gaining traction with these elites by doing barely any of the traditional coaxing and coddling that is a mainstay of today’s big-money era. While some of her 2020 competitors are returning to Silicon Valley multiple times within a single month, Warren is, by at least one measure, doing the best in the tech industry while also doing the least — sometimes with glee…
Three things have boosted Warren’s standing in Silicon Valley since she rattled tech’s cage this past winter, Democratic fundraisers say.
First, each of her new policy plans has won hard-earned kudos from Silicon Valley’s wealthy, who are finding her intellectually simpatico even if they don’t agree with her.
“The clarity of her plans and message is the way folks in tech are used to talking about tackling problems,” said Nabeel Hyatt, an early investor in companies like Discord and Postmates. “Even if you disagree on some things, there is just a craving for competency, for someone who will do a job well.”…
Secondly, some high-dollar donors — people who donate thousands of dollars a year — also say that as they listened more closely to Warren in town halls and on podcasts, they discovered more differences between her and avowed socialists like Bernie Sanders than they initially anticipated. Warren has for months tried to subtly draw that distinction…
Above all else, Silicon Valley leaders value in a candidate what they value in their C-suites: intense competency. Analysts have widely praised Warren for running one of 2020’s most effective campaigns, and fundraisers say that has endeared her to donors who aren’t predisposed to like her but who admire her execution.
Warren last month began overtaking Joe Biden in some key early-state polls, mirroring the slow embrace Warren has found in Silicon Valley.
“People just respect success,” said one Silicon Valley fundraiser aligned with a different candidate. “There’s a flight to quality.”…
And, as the article somewhat gleefully concludes, like any such ‘quality’ subject, Warren is refusing to sell herself short by compromising her public promises with wink-wink ‘but just this once, for you’ events. Even her professional friends aren’t getting special favors from the Warren campaign. Those voters who truly share Warren’s goals will understand why she’s doing this right now… and for those voters/donors who just want a bragging-rights bandwagon to jump on, there’s nothing as attractive as a candidate who plays hard to get.