LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman built a big-money machine to oust Trump. So why do some Democrats hate him? - Vox

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Reid Hoffman symbolizes the debate about whether Silicon Valley disruption should be in our politics.

Discover and explain how our digital world has changed and is changing us.

Every few months, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman sends out invitations to other billionaires who make up the Democratic Party’s big money machine:

He wants to add you to his political network.

Soon after, dozens of party advisors from large donors gathered in rooms in Washington, DC or Palo Alto, California, or, recently, on Zoom, these rooms became closed.

A meeting of some of the party’s most powerful fundraisers. They shared notes, listened to Joe Biden's campaign manager and other people seeking big checks, and discussed each other's strategies for defeating Donald Trump.

Hoffman and the other principals were not always there. But his invitation to this "donor table" gave him extraordinary agenda-setting power, making him one of the most influential Democratic donors in the Trump era.

These meetings, which began after Trump's election and have not been reported before, are the tip of Hoffman's fundraising machine. In order to win this fall, Hoffman personally paid

, Almost as many as any other American. But Hoffman is also the hub of the new Silicon Valley Big Money Network: his aides privately boasted that he had raised hundreds of millions of dollars by guiding a new class of politicized donors to overthrow Trump, who are now leftists. Funding.

Based on this, you think the Democratic Party will embrace him. Instead, Hoffman emerged as a polarizing figure in the party-welcomed in San Francisco and despised in parts of Washington-according to friends who worked with or talked to him, Democratic donors, agents and Four dozen interviews with officials. His team.

The root cause of this tension: Hoffman's team believes that the Democratic Party is fundamentally broken and requires ample funds for sabotage. Therefore, he and the donors on the track began to work hard to fund high-risk and unconventional projects, making mistakes and enemies along the way.

Hoffman has grown into a symbolic debate about whether this destructive style of Silicon Valley deserves its place in politics. Therefore, this fall’s election will provide an answer. If Biden wins, Hoffman will become one of the pioneers of Silicon Valley's new political moment. However, if Biden fails, then it is not difficult to imagine that the world where Hoffman became the political role model for the division of Silicon Valley has become wrong. Billionaires have too much wealth and few achievements.

Hoffman declined an interview request for this matter. The people who spoke to Recode did so largely on condition of anonymity in order to conduct a frank and complex assessment of one of the party's largest donors. Because whether they love Hoffman or hate him, Democrats dare not step past him-they have lost the right to use his wallet.

The political awakening of Silicon Valley in the Trump era can be explained by the political awakening of Reed Hoffman.

Hoffman is not only any founder and investor. Although not a household name, he is one of Silicon Valley’s most important "thought leaders"-he created


,roll out

, And consciously established an image as one of the permanent ethicists of technology. He likes to say: "Great power comes with great responsibility," he returned to Spider-Man.

What is LinkedIn founder

Is an elite donor of the Democratic Party. He has"

," he said in 2017. Before Trump’s rise, Hoffman’s disclosed donations totaled only $2 million, mainly for

Ironically, it seeks a super PAC

. Again, almost no one in Silicon Valley was considered a super donor before 2016. The billionaire class, especially those who actively run companies, has long been reluctant to use their booming wealth for partisan politics, which is part of the broad divide between the technology industry and politics that did not disturb their systems at the time.

But when Trump became the Republican presidential candidate, Hoffman's head and neck were bigger than most industry giants-


When Trump won, Hoffman stood up. He hired a consultant to build a multifunctional political shop,

. "Not only for him, but also for other billionaires in Silicon Valley.

In the past four years, Trump's tough stance on immigration and climate change has angered the technology industry and mobilized politically. Its leaders have


Better handle the Trump regime, and

The reason is more aggressive than ever.

It is Hoffman who has become the calling port of a new class of political novices, who are full of Silicon Valley wealth and anti-Trump enthusiasm, but do not know how to deal with it.

"Reid's view is that unless he does this, many things cannot be done," said John Lily, a close friend of the Hoffman family.

Take, for example, a fundraising event held this month in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, one of the major swing states in the United States. Contracting State

Upon invitation, Hoffman then went to work. He began to personally send emails and calls to major Democratic donors, including software director Sage Weil and venture capitalist Chris Sacca, and assembled a star list of Silicon Valley billionaires who paid

. The final host list eventually includes some of the Democratic Party’s richest donors, such as the former Google CEO

And Silicon Valley Investment Legend

. It raised more than US$500,000 for the State party.

Hoffman was able to achieve such an achievement because he has the core asset of spades, which cannot be bought: reputation.

In some phone calls with Silicon Valley leaders, Hoffman told them that although they have done everything for social welfare, unless they change the people in the White House, its achievements will be unsatisfactory. At other times, Hoffman used his huge talent as an example, emphasizing how deep he must dig before flipping the script, and demanding that they are also cheap. For example, in an email last week, Hoffman invited friends to participate in a fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper in Colorado. He said: "We hope you can donate $17,800 , Just like me."

Venture Capitalist Jeremy Liew

Served as chairman of Wisconsin State Events. He praised Hoffman and others for helping him navigate the political world.

Liew explained: “I’m no stranger to political donations and get advice from people who are more experienced than me to understand where my donations can have the greatest impact.”

However, Hoffman is not inside the party, but outside the party (in the more opaque and lawless corner of this chaotic campaign finance system) really exerted his influence.

Hoffman mainly influences the decisions of other donors, even if it only implicitly influences the private parties hosted by his team, one of which is the one held this week. Hoffman’s aides set the agenda, made funding proposals, and sometimes invited Biden’s then campaign manager, Greg Schultz, and other vetted people to make their own proposals. Hoffman’s team sometimes challenges other teams-including up to 70 invited consultants

Like Schmidt, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, and philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, give Hoffman’s gift to favored people Groups (many of which do not disclose their donors).

For Democrats who need a lot of money, the top priority for becoming the federal government is. The consultant asked the team they support to write an elaborate memo for the data-driven team, knowing that their brief moments on the billionaire’s radar could lead to windfalls. Some groups were flattered just because they kept in touch with Hoffman's team and courted second-tier Democratic donors.

"He has status, credibility and personal connections in many ways, and can really play more

A Democrat who has been in contact with Hoffman said he compared with conservative giant donors.

These meetings are just one way in which Hoffman’s opinions influence the Democratic Party.

Hoffman's team has helped people refocus on the expected "return" of their "investment" by these donors. The team likes to make a proposal estimated at "cost per vote" to the recipient, which is part of a new, cold-blooded endeavor that many Democrats welcome, and they appreciate Hoffman.

The reason behind all of this is Hoffman’s belief that the Democrats have broken or at least have broken down-his team

The company has told them that it "does not accept" their suggestions how to solve it. In a six-page memo sent to other donors earlier this month, Hoffman's team recommended donations to 16 groups, which they said was aimed at "blind spots within the Democratic Party."

So Hoffman has been trying to repair his party from outside the party wall. He invested nearly $20 million in Alloy, a data exchange program, and he started repairing the tragic infrastructure of the Democratic Party without the help of the Democratic Party. He also sent more than $10 million in funding to Acronym, an advertising company that specializes in digital advertising-unlike the Democratic agency that focuses on television.

Adam Hoffman

In 2017, he invested most of his funds in external groups instead of through state Democrats.

Hoffman's team heralded Virginia's victory as an early proof of its model. Although they are supporting certain contracting states these days, Hoffman is now raising funds for Wisconsin. Hoffman's chief political adviser, Dmitri Mehlhorn (Dmitri Mehlhorn), presented a different view in his post-election report in 2017, which reflects an earlier view. .

Melhorn told participants that anyone who gets along with the Democratic states is a complete waste of time.

To this day, the Democrats in Virginia are still angry, telling Recode that they feel that Hoffman bullied them with his money so that he could act his own way. This shows Reid Hoffman's restraint on the Democratic Party.

An operator who spoke to the Hoffman team said: "In the tech world, this is considered positive." "In the political world, it's a bit toxic."

The wrong move reflects Hoffman’s two main criticisms: He was so focused on collecting the 270 electoral votes needed to defeat Trump that he failed to invest in long-term national infrastructure to support the progressive movement. Critics believe that in order to win those votes, Hoffman is willing to play a dirty role. Hoffman’s defenders think this agitation is worthwhile-if the Democratic Party wins, it may

A more provocative form of political combat.

"They are more sword fighters than me," said an adviser to another major Democratic donor.

When you mention Hoffman's name to a party strategist, you can easily get it. Some of his refusal seemed to be out of jealousy and frustration, and he refused to provide financial support. Similarly, other criticisms of Hoffman come from the composition

Therefore, they have a vested commercial interest in their failure.

Some disgust towards Hoffman was driven by some unpleasant interactions, which some politicians said clashed with Hoffman’s powerful assistant Mehlhorn. Some Democrats say that Melhorn’s team tends to insist that they know the field better than the operators who work in it every day, or to “deceive” a potential team after requiring a lot of material and effort. A group estimated that it had met with Mehlhorn's team up to 20 times, but somehow it did not receive donations.

As one agent said, the pressures that the Hoffman War brought to the Democratic Party are that "our lives have been many years," and there is no doubt about this.

Brief list: One of Hoffman’s first initiatives was a quasi-challenge to the structure of the Democratic National Committee.

. it

A year after a company close to it started operating, Donnie Fowler described it as "failure" and "a perfect example of how Silicon Valley makes mistakes." Hoffman, a digital company, supports MotivAI with $15 million in funding

Spread fake news. The acronym is one of Hoffman's biggest bets, and it has caused great repercussions in the party.

And with

The party’s two other moves most shocked the party: his Alloy project has been widely criticized by many Democratic data operators, who believe that he has largely created a replicable supplier for the Democratic Party’s own data programs. The State Party has seen

-Although the mood has declined in the past year, among many party officials, "Reed" is still a four-letter word.

Then Hoffman’s accident

In the 2018 election against Roy Moore, Hoffman was

. (after that,

He has publicly released a new disinformation policy for his political work-he still has not done so. )

Such a terrible news cycle burned Hoffman's team and made them worry that future arguments might hiss stain his name.

Now, as Hoffman approaches the end of his four-year term, these two main criticisms-the obsession with 270 electoral votes and the means aimed at achieving equality of means-have once again attracted attention.

Sources say that some progressive movement groups, especially countries outside the presidential swing state, are disappointed that they cannot get a lot of money, even if they think the money will help the Democratic Party and people of color in the long run. Hoffman does support more than a dozen organizations led by people of color, such as NAACP and Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight. But Hoffman’s aides also told the funding organizations that, given that they see Trump as a threat to fascism, they only focus on efforts to overthrow Trump.

For example, Hoffman's willingness to work with a bunch of anti-Trumps exacerbated this frustration.

Groups, such as the Lincoln Project

. Adam Hoffman

He will spend millions of dollars to produce meme-generated content with the Lincoln Project. A senior Democratic official told Recode that money can be better used to change the fortunes of many Democratic groups.

For many Democrats, these short-term decisions can be explained by a suspicion that every time Trump leaves the White House, Hoffman will lose interest in large-scale efforts to support the Democratic Party. Hoffman’s advisers told other Democrats that they themselves did not intend to engage in full-time political work after the 2020 election.

Hoffman’s team told an agent: “Win ​​or lose, we will not do anything after 2020.” They said they thought this comment was “really short-sighted.”

Then there are unconventional strategies: For example, a failed idea that Hoffman's team explored last year was a money-making media campaign targeting members of the Senate Banking Committee, which called on them to protest whether the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates in response to pressure. Recode from the White House was told. The Fed should not be affected by political pressure, but lower interest rates will also stimulate Trump's economy, and it is conceivable that it may hurt the Democratic Party.

Bradley Tusk, a strategist working with the Hoffman team, said: “A lot of people make money and then decide that they should participate in politics.” “Not many people use data, logic, and logic like Reid and Dmitri do. Creativity and innovation."

In order to encourage more progressive non-profit organizations to use Alloy, Hoffman's team even proposed to reimburse certain groups that use data services.

Hoffman’s team also told people that they are exploring actions that some sources believe may prove to be legitimate. Recode told them: They have studied what legal measures donors can take to help collect and deliver mailed votes, a history this year new highs. They also considered whether Hoffman's team could directly pay activists who persuaded others to promise to vote in North Carolina, instead of funding intermediaries like external groups traditionally do with donors.

Hoffman's group recently urged Democratic donors to vividly portray various nightmare situations-so that they would not feel complacent about Biden's poll leader.

"In all these cases, the most obvious solution is to win more victories," Melhorn wrote in a memo obtained by Recode last month. "The greater the profit, the harder it is to deceive."

The hope of the Democratic Party is that the battle with Hoffman is over. All Democratic agents discovered a technical billionaire who was not too tough after about 2018. The Democrats felt that his aides were not too humble and naive in party building, and even if they could do it, they would be more and more interested in sports groups. Quantify their "cost per vote".

In Washington, in recent years, the situation between DNC and Hoffman has improved due to the unremitting efforts of both sides. This relationship has recently paid off: Hoffman and Conway chatted

Start at

, And finally Biden and DNC,

. When DNC starts planning

, DNC sought Hoffman’s team for its expertise in digital organization.

When Hoffman was in

, He was welcomed by the nominee. Hoffman has always been a star attraction on Biden's conference call. He wrote

On why all business leaders need to participate in the Democratic nomination, even suggestions

. It’s not hard to imagine a perfect cyberman Hoffman implanted his allies into the Biden administration.

But Hoffman is still not on Biden’s inner track-this may be partly because Biden’s open bargaining with big tech billionaires and Microsoft board members is not good politics.

A Silicon Valley fundraiser for Biden said: "For the people in Biden, it has nothing to do with Reid." There is a lot more: Don’t get too close to Silicon Valley, because,'Oh, by the way In one sentence, we must also tell us what we are going to do with Silicon Valley. '"

However, behind the scenes, it is a completely different story. Hoffman is

. In short, this is the complicated story of Reid Hoffman and the Democratic Party.

For example, when Barack Obama began to step out of the wilderness to raise funds for the Biden campaign, Doffman DNC decided to host a federation that was only invited to participate, which showed some The agency and Hoffman finally buried the axe.

Hoffman wrote to his network in mid-June, saying: "Next week, I will host a high-promise Zoom fundraiser with President Barack Obama." He promised, "With my host A private, unrecorded conversation with President Obama".

He is not talking about "high commitment" verbally. Even among the super-rich in Silicon Valley, the lowest fare for Zoom has reached $250,000.

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