When Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) announced her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, she did something that would have been unheard of in previous election cycles: She explicitly criticized Silicon Valley’s big technology companies.
“For too long the big tech companies have been telling you, ‘Don’t worry! We’ve got your back!’ while your identities are being stolen and your data is mined,” Klobuchar said.
She isn’t the only Democrat running for president with a critique of Big Tech. In fact, every major 2020 Democratic presidential candidate has issued some form of statement critical of the industry or introduced legislation that would crack down on its most abusive practices.
That’s a huge shift for a party whose leaders have spent the last 30 years basking in the glow of the valley’s mythology of innovation and entrepreneurship, courting tech titans for their support and campaign contributions. It’s a marriage that reached its peak during the presidency of Barack Obama.
Obama was the first president who really got Silicon Valley ― and Silicon Valley got him. He brought tech insiders to Washington to bring their new ideas into government and streamline inefficient and outdated government technology infrastructure. And political hands went through the revolving door to work for those same tech companies.
Hillary Clinton, Obama’s first secretary of state and the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, made technology and the internet a central part of her foreign policy, advocating that tech adoption would advance democracy. Her presidential campaign’s tech policy was a “love letter to Silicon Valley,” according to Recode.