Much of the financial support for the sort of “immigration reform” favored by Barack Obama has come from Silicon Valley. The immigration bill that passed the Senate but stalled in the House would not only grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants but also greatly increase legal immigration. Of central importance to Silicon Valley, the bill would expand the H1B visa program that allows tech companies to import cheaper foreign workers to drive down the salaries of computer programmers, engineers, and the like. Although it is the House Republican majority that has so far stopped the passage of the disastrous immigration bill, many Republican politicians have expressed support for much of Silicon Valley’s agenda, including an expansion of the H1B visa program.
A new report on political giving in Silicon Valley should make even the dimmest member of the Stupid Party wonder why anyone in the GOP is willing to carry water for Silicon Valley. Crowdpac, which analyzes political giving, examined the political donations made by employees of Silicon Valley tech firms and venture capital firms, as well as of Stanford and Berkeley. The results are stunning. 100% of the political donations made by employees of Twitter went to Democrats. So did 90% of the political donations made by employees of Google and Apple and 85% of the political donations made by employees of Yahoo, LinkedIn, Amazon, and Facebook. A whopping 97% of political donations made by employees of Berkeley went to Democrats, as did 91% of Stanford donations.
It is no surprise that the rich have great political influence, as Silicon Valley certainly does. What is surprising is that many Republican politicians wish to advance the interests of a class that increasingly despises them. Maybe, just maybe, Republicans would be better off ignoring the new robber barons and giving heed instead to the people who actually vote for them.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.