Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, has topped Wired magazine’s first-ever “Clout List,” ranking the 20 Silicon Valley insiders who are exercising the most influence and power over the 2016 election.
“He’s been a fixture in the White House as a tech adviser and is now throwing his weight behind startups like Civis Analytics that are working to get Hillary Clinton elected. He’s also chair of Alphabet, a company that spends more on lobbying than almost any other,” according to the magazine.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is No. 2, with the tech magazine citing he “shows his power by stumping for immigration reform, chatting up the president of China, and announcing that he intends to use his $45 billion fortune to rethink society.” At No. 3 is 29-year-old Justin McConney, “who can be credited — or blamed–for inspiring Donald Trump to master the dark arts of online communication.”
Other names that made the list include Hillary Clinton’s chief technology officer Stephanie Hannon (No. 4), Oracle founder and one of the 10 richest people on earth, Larry Ellison (No. 5), Reddit’s Aidan King and David Frederick (No. 6), who have raised more than $500,000 for Bernie Sanders’ campaign, Facebook COO and founder of the Lean In movement, Sheryl Sandberg (No. 8), and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (No. 12) — because an Instagram endorsement by the power couple is almost guaranteed to get to a million likes.
“This is the year in which tech — its interests and, most important, the money behind those interests — will shape the election,” writes Wired contributor Michael Hainey in an introduction to the list. “The power players in Silicon Valley are beginning to confidently wield their tremendous economic resources and social influence. Tech also has the data, and that data is the lifeblood of campaigns. Finally, tech controls the new means of communication, from Twitter to Snapchat to Facebook. Together, these forces give the titans of Silicon Valley outsize clout in the political world.”
The power ranking, selected by the editors of Wired, includes both bold-faced billionaire elite and the behind-the-scenes technologists. See below for the complete 2016 “Clout List” and click through to Wired.com for the full article.
1. Eric Schmidt, Executive chair of Alphabet, née Google.
2. Mark Zuckerberg, Founded Facebook, which now has more than 1 billion daily users.
3. Justin McConney, Introduced Donald Trump to social media
4. Stephanie Hannon, Chief technology officer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign
5. Larry Ellison, One of the 10 richest people on the planet. Enough said.
6. Aidan King & David Frederick of Reddit, Inadvertent Hillary dethroners
7. John Lee, Chief technology officer at NGP VAN, the Democrats’ nationwide voter database
8. Sheryl Sandberg, The Facebook COO and founder of the workplace equality movement Lean In is expanding that campaign to military women.
9. Susan Molinari, Vice president for public policy at Google
10. Erin Hill, Executive director of ActBlue, a nonprofit that powers one-click donations for Democrats
11. Joe Rospars, CEO and founder of Blue State Digital
12. Kim Kardashian & Kanye West, A combined 54.2 million followers on Twitter alone
13. Michael Palmer, Founder of i360, a database of 250 million voter files
14. David Plouffe & Chris Lehane, Former political operatives now helping Silicon Valley giants Uber and Airbnb bend government regulations to their will
15. Campaign Zero (Britney Packnett, Samuel Sinyangwe, Johnetta Elzie, DeRay McKesson), Founders of the Campaign Zero movement against police violence
16. Rob Saliterman, Runs Snapchat’s political advertising division
17. Zac Moffatt, Cofounder of Targeted Victory
18. Alex Skatell, Founded the social news powerhouse Independent Journal
19. Lincoln Labs (Garrett Johnson, Aaron Ginn, Chris Abrams), Founded a community for techie conservatives
20. Linda Moore, President and CEO of Technet — tech’s most powerful advocacy group