In the political climate we are currently living in, the term 'Silicon Valley' has become synonymous with 'raging liberals'. Recent reports that Facebook had repressed conservative outlets from its trending topics section further confirmed the notion in the eyes of conservatives everywhere. But things are not that simple.
Political contribution data suggests that some of the biggest political power players in the Valley hold significantly different views than those of the people who they manage. It is no secret that several of the tech industry's leaders are billionaire libertarians with conservative leanings. What comes as a surprise is the disproportionate political influence that that handful of people actually have.
The chart below shows tech sector workers organized by ideology: over 40% of all tech workers who gave in 2016 are very liberal: a 10L. So the people who actually live in the Valley and work in tech are in fact as liberal as everyone sees them.
Now when we look at money given by the tech industry this cycle, the disparity is staggering. Most of the money comes from a few conservative donors, who represent less than 9% of tech donors. Most prominent on the list of conservative tech donors are Oracle's Larry Ellison, who gave $5M to Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential bid, and Peter Thiel, who gave $2M to Carly Fiorina's campaign.
While Silicon Valley has certainly made an impact on the liberal side of things, with tech workers being one of Bernie Sanders' top fundraising demographics, it might be the case that its political footprint is actually deeper on the conservative end of the spectrum. It serves as a microcosm for the reality of campaign finance and politics as a whole: a small group of political power players can mobilize the influence of an entire sector to advance their own political agenda and personal interests.