Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has laced into Trump (though not by name) for perceived fear-mongering. Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape (he surprised Silicon Valley by going with Romney in 2012), regularly ridicules Trump via Twitter. Apple’s Tim Cook has his own approach: He’s agreed to raise money for House Speaker Paul Ryan; his company won’t provide financial or tech support for Trump’s big show in Cleveland. . . .Trump says he wants to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, ban Muslims from entering the U.S., and engage in tariff wars with China. He punctuates these positions with unfortunate rhetorical flourishes such as impugning the loyalty and honesty of entire segments of second-generation Americans—for example, the Indiana-born “Mexican” judge.It’s hard to imagine a worse trifecta for appealing to a Silicon Valley that: (a) sees immigrants as entrepreneurs, not interlopers, (b) has an economy highly reliant upon Washington’s relationship with Pacific Rim trading partners, and (c) prides itself on the ability to adapt to emerging challenges such as the U.K. “Brexit” vote.
In other words, in the very industries in which the United States excels, Trump is a dud, a threat to success. Workers in those industries should consider him a lethal threat to their livelihood.
Trump is also culturally backward, a vulgar relic of the same 1950s from which his economic views come. “Trump’s rise to fame doesn’t stand on the shoulders of circuits, chips and semiconductors,” Whalen remarks. “His business pursuits don’t tie into larger social causes, such as improving schools and strengthening cultural ties. He boasts about making deals, not remaking the world.”
Moreover, the tech world is a bastion of diversity, where gender, ethnicity and race are hardly noticed. Can you do the work? Or more precisely, are you smart? Trump’s overt misogyny, xenophobia, racism and mocking of the disabled make him a piranha in a cultural milieu where none of that is tolerated.
To Silicon Valley — and I would suggest to most young voters and those who’ve grown up in a Title IX, multi-ethnic America — Trump is oafish and outdated. He is, to be blunt, an embarrassment.
It’s noteworthy that the three execs Whalen identifies are white males. Lack of women in high-tech is a whole other issue, but it is important when looking at demographics to understand that Trump is not just repulsive to members of the many groups he has insulted (e.g. women, Mexican-Americans). He is a turn-off to a great many white males who think of themselves as modern, tolerant Americans. Saying “I’m for Trump” in essence is telling your friends, neighbors and colleagues you’re a Neanderthal — or an admirer of one. (I suspect there will be far fewer yard signs for the Republican presidential nominee in this election year than previous elections.)
Unfortunately for the Democrats, they did not choose someone who vividly highlights this cultural divide. Sure, Hillary Clinton is respectful of all racial, ethnic, gender and other subsets of Americans. But she is also Trump’s age and not exactly a cultural trendsetter (or follower). Nevertheless, she’d do well to mock Trump. Hey, Donald, the Rat Pack went out of style 60 years years ago. Hey, Donald, the 1950s are calling and they want their culture back.
Cultural cluelessness and economic illiteracy are not the biggest Trump’s faults — character is. But they might be the most vivid — and the most easily mocked.