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US presidential nominees leave tech sector bereft of options

Information technology, digital communications and the World Wide Web have together been the triumvirate of forces that have supercharged the US economy for the last quarter of a century. You’d think somebody would have told that to the American presidential candidates who appear to be in some sort of insane race to lose the support of Silicon Valley and other tech hubs.

Of Donald Trump there are few words left to be expended: a human wrecking ball with the clear-minded strategy and determination of a small child using finger paints. The only surprising thing about the open letter compiled by tech luminaries criticising his candidacy is that it took so long to arrive.

It must have taken some time to gain the consensus on wording, given the extensive list of powerbrokers on the list, including Aaron Levie, Steve Wozniak, Padmasree Warrior and Jimmy Wales, but the missive is admirably concise and direct:

“We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field. Donald Trump does not. He campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline. We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation. His vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy — and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth.”

Trump’s numbskull suggestions about immigration and somehow closing down parts of the internet are rightly skewered. It’s only a shame that so many more of the tech elite are not counter-signatories.

As for Hillary Clinton, the plan to introduce tighter immigration controls flies in the face of everything that American technology and STEM companies require: the free movement of people across borders to gain access to millions of talented people, no matter their country of origin. Only one saving grace emerges from this: her team’s cack-handed handling of email looks small beer by comparison.

With the nominations effectively sealed, US voters are left with a binary choice. But for those who view technological growth as a critical catalyst for growth, neither option is attractive.


Also read:

Tech should stay out of political donations

The GOP internet conspiracy

What would Donald Trump as US president mean for tech?

Donald Trump is only the latest crazy internet pundit


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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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