California might be the Land of the Left, but for a new breed of Republicans, it’s the land of opportunity. Lead by Sen. Rand Paul, the burgeoning libertarian wing of the party is looking to Silicon Valley for both tech expertise and cash. This weekend, as Politico reports, Paul himself made an impassioned pitch out West:
Gathering in the swank W hotel, a confab of wealthy start-up founders, college engineering students, long-shot local GOP candidates and self-described political geeks professed their mutual disdain for heavy-handed government and declared allegiance to a Rand Paul-style of governing that they’d like to think is on the upswing in the American body politic.Their calls for disrupting the status quo got a nice boost since Paul himself was in the house, delivering a 24-minute keynote. […]“I come out here and people say, ‘We loved President Obama. We’re all for President Obama. We’re from the tech community,’” Paul said to a standing room only crowd of several hundred attending the Lincoln Labs conference. “Why? Why would you be? He’s not for innovation. He’s not for freedom. He’s for the protectionism crowd. He’s for the crowd that would limit the activities of these companies.”
As the attendees pointed out to Politico, there are still big challenges facing any GOP-Silicon Valley rapprochement, ranging from social issues to marijuana laws to surveillance. But the contradictions between the tech community’s innovate-first, ask-questions-later approach and the Democrats’ reliance on regulation is just as glaring—and likely to get worse.
Perhaps Silicon Valley is figuring out that in politics, interest groups that stay faithful to one party tend to have their wishes ignored more often than those that play the field. If so, 2016 could be very interesting.