One of my smart readers wrote me with some excellent comments in response to my piece The Next Big Lobby:
Note: I’ve made small edits to the email (with the sender's consent) for clarity.
Two issues: First is money. Tech or any other group. Money matters. The fact that tech can spend so much is significant no matter what. Other groups spend big, too. It can backfire.
Eminently correct. At a certain point investing additional cash in politics is a series of diminishing returns. A group with $50 billion dollars probably can't outspend a group with $30 billion dollars in any meaningful way. Even though one has closer to twice as much money it offers no no significant advantage because of sheer size of both amounts.
I think it would be more accurate for me to say big tech has become one of the most well funded lobbies out there. They may have more money but at this point it's probably not enough more to matter.
The second issue is the use of technology itself. The techies are good at it right out of the box because it is their tech. But other groups will begin using tech better, too. Soon it will become common place.
Your article was an interesting read because of the confluence of money and tech right now. But I don't think tech will have the corner on the market for either for very long.
This is essentially the crux of my point. Money is an equalizer for paid talent. It's the talent, skill, and dedication of the kind of volunteers big tech will get that I consider to be the game changer. There's a built-in set of technical skills almost every one of their constituents will have. It's something you just don't find with any other group. With political battles increasingly fought online, it's an advantage that is incredibly difficult to duplicate.
One final point worth discussing:
In Oregon, right now, I think Nike has shown more pull than any of the techs. The unions would mop the floor with high tech if they needed to in a floor fight.
Absolutely correct. It's possible I overstated the current influence of big tech. I think they're likely to develop incredibly strong influence but I think I did overemphasize how quickly that will happen. It's possible this is a five to ten year power accumulation.