Republicans have always attracted corporate CEOs – their hands off approach to labor and environmental standards is great for externalizing costs onto society at large and boosting profits. Silicon Valley companies were supposedly the exception. But now Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not just giving a prominent Republican (and likely 2016 presidential candidate) a platform to speak with employees and be associated with a major brand – he’s helping fill the campaign war chest.
Mark Zuckerberg likes Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. So much that Mr. Zuckerberg, a co-founder of Facebook, and his wife will hold a fund-raiser for him next month at their home in Palo Alto, Calif…
A spokeswoman for Mr. Zuckerberg, who is the company’s chief executive, said he and his wife admired the governor’s work on education policy — Mr. Christie has pushed for vouchers, championed a new state law weakening tenure in public schools, and signed a contract with the teachers union in the state-run Newark schools that will allow performance bonuses. He also signed a law requiring teachers, among other public employees, to pay more toward their pension and benefits.
That “work on education policy” would be privatizing public education for the benefit of private companies, but lets put that aside for a second. The real issue is how far does Mr. Zuckerberg’s support go for Governor Christie. If Christie runs for president will Zuckerberg help the campaign by making Facebook user data available for messaging and get out the vote efforts?
This can not be far from Democratic Party strategists minds as the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) almost immediately sent out a petition to demand Zuckerberg distance himself from Christie. The 2012 re-election of Barack Obama heavily relied on a technological advantage over Mitt Romney – with Zuckerberg on board the Christie campaign some of that advantage could be neutralized.
And by the way for those wondering whether Zuckerberg/Facebook has the authority to use user data to help a political campaign – yes, yes they do. Facebook owns the data you put on their site or rather information you put on “your” profile. They can and do sell that information to third parties – in fact that’s how they make money.
So should Zuckerberg continue to be enthralled by Chris Christie and should Christie run in 2016 Mark Zuckerberg could prove an invaluable resource to the national campaign by giving/selling the Christie campaign access to Facebook user data. It could be just the edge Christie needs to win.