Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday defended her plan to break up top tech giants Amazon and Alphabet’s Google and Facebook, saying ‘boo-hoo’ to her critics.
‘The monopolists will make fewer monopoly profits. Boo-hoo,’ she told the crowd at the South by Southwest festival.
‘The whole idea behind this is for the people in this room. It’s for people who are tech entrepreneurs it’s for people who have small businesses and want to grow big businesses, it’s for people who have medium sized businesses and want to grow them,’ she said, adding she didn’t want big companies to use their information and power to crush the smaller ones.
‘We want to keep that marketplace competitive and not let a giant who has an incredible competitive advantage snuff that out,’ she said.
Warren filled the room at the Moody Theater for her one hour conversation.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday defended her plan to break up top tech giants
‘The monopolists will make fewer monopoly profits. Boo-hoo,’ Elizabeth Warren told the crowd at the South by Southwest festival
Time Magazine Editor at Large Anand Giridharadas, who questioned her, began by asking those in the audience who worked for a tech company to stand.
After about a dozen people rose, Giridharadas asked Warren to explain to them why she wanted to break up their employers.
‘Because it’ll be a lot more fun to work there,’ she responded.
On Friday, the day before her scheduled appearance to the tech heavy crowd at SXSW, Warren announced a plan to break up the tech giants, saying they have ‘too much power’ and have ‘bulldozed competition.’
Warren received a warm welcome from the crowd when she joked and interacted with them.
She chided them gently when they didn’t know her response to her favorite female politician: Frances Perkins, the Labor Secretary who was the first female Cabinet secretary.
The crowd applauded when she described who Perkins’ was but Warren jokingly told them: ‘You didn’t know.’
She was also asked if it was true that Bernie Sanders asked her not to get into the presidential race.
But she didn’t bite.
‘Bernie and I had a private dinner and my view is that dinner stays private,’ she responded.
During a lightening round of questions, she revealed she drinks Michelob Light (‘the club soda of beers,’ she called it); she’s reading the fifth book in the Victor the Assassin series; that she thinks President Donald Trump is a racist and that marijuana should be legalized.
Breakup plan: Elizabeth Warren says she would use regulators to stop tech giants Google, Amazon and Facebook from
Warren is polling in the first or second tier of potential presidential candidates, earning an average of 7 per cent support in a polling average – though to implement her ideas she would have to capture both the nomination and defeat President Trump.
Warren described her plans for tech companies in an essay published on Medium that made the case for promoting competition.
‘Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,’ she wrote. ‘They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.’
Amazon shares fell 1.5 percent and Facebook and Alphabet shares were down 0.6 percent in morning trade on Friday.
Warren, a former academic, became a liberal favorite after she helped create the first consumer financial protection board.
Warren, who is seeking to stand out in a Democratic field crowded with progressives, said the companies have been allowed to purchase potential competitors, like Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram.
She made her policy pitch as she seeks to distinguish herself from other contenders, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has gone after Amazon to try to get the shipping and Internet giant to boost wages.
Sanders introduced legislation, named after Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, that would seek to tax companies whose workers are forced to rely on government benefits for health care and living costs.
The acronym comes from its title: ‘Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies.’
She also said she would appoint regulators who would rely on existing antitrust laws ‘to break up mergers that reduce competition.’
She said they would rely on those tools to ‘unwind anti-competitive mergers, including: Amazon: Whole Foods; Zappos Facebook: WhatsApp; Instagram Google: Waze; Nest; DoubleClick.’
In her pitch to rein in the influence of tech giants, the Massachusetts senator envisions legislation targeting companies with annual worldwide revenue of $25 billion or more, limiting their ability to expand and forcing parts of Google and Amazon’s current business structure to operate as separate entities.
Challenge: Elizabeth Warren is putting herself head to head with the tech giant bosses, with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Jezz Bezos’ Amazon in her sights
As president, Warren said she would pick regulators who would seek to break up what she called ‘anti-competitive mergers’ such as Facebook’s recent purchase of Instagram and Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.
She made the pitch before a town hall appearance later in the day in the New York City neighborhood where Amazon recently scrapped plans to open a new headquarters.
‘Today’s big tech companies have too much power – too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,’ Warren said.
It remains to be seen whether Warren will introduce legislation in the current Congress aligning with the first element of her plan. A spokeswoman, Kristen Orthman, said a bill introduction was not imminent.
Warren described the current crop of big tech firms as a threat to business innovation.
‘As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people,’ she wrote.
‘To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies.’
According to OpenSecrets, individuals from Alphabet Inc. came in 9th among firms that have contributed most to Warren’s campaigns from 2013 to 2018. They collectively gave some $41,000 out of $8 million raised.
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One of her 2020 rivals, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, has faced criticism for his past closeness to the tech industry. A Booker spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment on Booker’s view of Warren’s new proposal.
Warren said that she would nominate regulators who would unwind mergers such as Facebook’s deals for WhatsApp and Instagram, Amazon’s deals for Whole Foods and Zappos, and Google’s purchase of Waze, Nest and DoubleClick.
Amazon, Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
WHO ARE ALL THE DEMOCRATS OFFICIALLY RUNNING FOR THE PRESIDENCY IN 2020 SO FAR?
Age on Inauguration Day: 71
Entered race: Set up exploratory committee December 31, 2018
Career: Law lecturer and academic who became an expert on bankruptcy law and tenured Harvard professor. Ran for Senate and won in 2012, defeating sitting Republican Scott Brown, held it in 2018 60% to 36%. Was short-listed to be Hillary’s running mate and campaigned hard for her in 2016
Family: Twice-married mother of two and grandmother of three. First husband and father of her children was her high-school sweetheart. Second husband Bruce Mann is Harvard law professor. Daughter Amelia Tyagi and son Alex Warren have both been involved in her campaigns. Has controversially claimed Native American roots; DNA test suggested she is as little as 1,064th Native American
Religion: Raised Methodist, now described as Christian with no fixed church
Views on key issues: Voted Republican until 1995 but has tacked left since. Pro: higher taxes on rich; banking regulation; Dream Act path to citizenship for ‘dreamers’; abortion and gay rights; campaign finance restrictions; and expansion of public provision of healthcare – although still to spell out exactly how that would happen. Against: U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Syria; liberalization of gambling
Slogan: To be announced
Age on Inauguration Day: 56
Entered race: Announced she was running January 21, 2018 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – on Good Morning America. Formally entered race January 27
Career: Howard and U.C. Hunter law school grad who worked as assistant district attorney in Alameda County, CA, then in San Francisco’s DA’s office before being elected San Francisco DA in 2003 and used it as springboard to run successfully for California attorney general in 2010. Won again in 2014 and was at center of U.S. attorney general and Supreme Court speculation but also endured a series of controversies, including over police brutality allegations. Ran for Senate in 2016 and established herself on liberal wing of party
Family: Born in Berkeley, CA, to immigrant Indian Tamil mother and Jamaican father who were both academics and brought up from seven to 18 in Montreal, Canada. Dated married San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, when he was 60 and she was 29. Married attorney Douglas Emhoff in 2014 and has two stepchildren; Cole, an aspiring actor, and Ella, an art and design student. Sister Maya was a Hillary Clinton adviser and brother-in-law Tony West is Uber’s chief legal counsel. Would be first female, first Indian-American and first female black president
Views on key issues: Social ultra-liberal who has rejected criticisms of ‘identity politics’ and is running without a political action committee, which will make her reliant on small donors. Has shifted left on criminal justice reform; supports Medicare for all; pro-gun control and anti-death penalty; says illegal immigration is a civil not a criminal offense
Religion: Has said she was brought up in both Baptist and Hindu tradition
Slogan: Kamala Harris: For The People
Age on Inauguration Day: 79
Entered race: Sources said on January 25, 2019, that he would form exploratory committee. Officially announced February 19
Career: Student civil rights and anti-Vietnam activist who moved to Vermont and worked as a carpenter and radical film-maker. Serial failed political candidate in the 1970s, he ran as a socialist for mayor of Burlington in 1980 and served two terms ending in 1989, and win a seat in Congress as an independent in 1990. Ran for Senate in 2006 elections as an independent with Democratic endorsement and won third term in 2018. Challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 but lost. Campaign has since been hit by allegations of sexual harassment – for which he has apologized – and criticized for its ‘Bernie bro’ culture
Family: Born to a Jewish immigrant father and the daughter of Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. First marriage to college sweetheart Deboarah Shiling Messing in 1964 ended in divorce in 1966; had son Levi in 1969 with then girlfriend Susan Cambell Mott. Married Jone O’Meara in 1988 and considers her three children, all adults, his own. The couple have seven grandchildren. His older brother Larry is a former Green Party councilor in Oxfordshire, England
Religion: Secular Jewish
Views on key issues: Openly socialist and standard bearer for the Democratic party’s left-turn. Wants federal $15 minimum wage; banks broken up; union membership encouraged; free college tuition; universal health care; re-distributive taxation; he opposed Iraq War and also U.S. leading the fight against ISIS and wants troops largely out of Afghanistan and the Middle East
Slogan: To be announced
Age on Inauguration Day: 54
Entered race: Announced exploratory committee on Stephen Colbert’s CBS show on January 16, 2019
Career: Dartmouth and UCLA law grad who was a high-flying Manhattan attorney representing big businesses. Says she was inspired to enter politics by hearing Hillary Clinton speak, although she is also scion of a prominent New York Democratic political family. Won New York’s 20th district, centered on Albany in 2004; appointed to Hillary Clinton’s senate seat in 2008 and won it in 2010 special election 63-35; won first full term 2012 and re-elected 67-33 in 2018
Family: Married to British venture capitalist Jonathan Gillibrand with two sons, Theodore, 15, and Henry, ten. Father Douglas Lutnik was Democratic lobbyist; grandmother Polly Noonan was at center of Albany Democratic politics. Would be first female president
Views on key issues: Initially pro-gun as Congresswoman, has since reversed herself to be pro-gun control and also pro-immigration; said Bill Clinton should have resigned over Monica Lewinsky and helped force Al Franken out of Senate over groping allegations; in favor of single-payer healthcare and Medicare for all
Slogan: To be announced
Age on Inauguration Day: 51
Entered race: Announced he was running February 1, 2019
Career: High school football star who went to Stanford or undergraduate and masters degrees before studying in Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and Yale Law School. Worked for advocacy and youth projects and successfully ran for Newark, New Jersey, city council in 1998. Narrowly lost mayoral election in 2002 facing claims he was ‘suburban’ and ‘not black enough.’ Ran again in 2006 and won landslide on radical reform platform for troubled city, including being tough on crime, cutting budget deficit, increasing affordable housing and tackling failing schools – controversially taking a huge donation from Mark Zuckerberg for the city. Ran for New Jersey senate seat in 2013 special election and won; won full term in 2014
Family: Single. Parents Cary and Carolyn were among IBM’s first black executives. Brother Cary Jr. is education adviser to New Jersey’s Democratic governor. Would be first bachelor president since James Buchanan, who was in the White House from 1857 to 1861
Views on key issues: Self-proclaimed liberal. Endorses abortion rights; affirmative action; single-payer health care; criminal justice reform; path to citizenship for ‘dreamers; federal marijuana decriminalization; $15 minimum wage; but has also spoken against tech regulation and for long-term deficit reduction
Slogan: To be announced
Age on Inauguration Day: 60
Entered race: Announced candidacy February 10, 2019 at snow-drenched rally in her native Minneapolis
Career: Yale and University of Chicago law graduate who became a corporate lawyer. First ran unsuccessfully for office in 1994 as Hennepin, MI, county attorney, and won same race in 1998, then in 2002, without opposition. Ran for Senate in 2006 and won 58-38; re-elected in 2012 and 2018
Family: Married to John Bessler, law professor at University of Baltimore and expert on capital punishment. Daughter Abigail Bessler, 23, works fora Democratic member of New York City council. Father Jim, 90, was a veteran newspaper columnist who has written a memoir of how his alcoholism hurt his family; mom Rose is a retired grade school teacher
Religion: Congregationalist (United Church of Christ)
Views on key issues: Seen as a mainstream liberal: says she wants ‘universal health care’ but has not spelled out how; pro-gun control; pro-choice; backs $15 minimum wage; no public statements on federal marijuana legalization; has backed pro-Israel law banning the ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ movement; spoke out against abolishing ICE
Slogan: To be announced
Age on Inauguration Day: 46
Entered race: January 12, 2018, at rally in his native San Antonio, TX. Had formed exploratory committee two months previously
Career: Stanford and Harvard graduate who was a San Antonio councilman at 26 and became mayor in 2009. Was Obama’s Housing and Urban Development secretary from 2014 to 2016
Family: Married with nine-year-old daughter, Carina, and four-year-old son, Cristian. His identical twin Joaquin, who is a minute younger, is Democratic congressman. Mother Maria del Rosario Castro was part of ‘radical’ third party for Mexican-Americans; father left his wife and five children for her but they never married. Would be first Hispanic-American president – announced his run in English and Spanish – and first-ever U.S. president with a twin
Views on key issues: Wants medicare for all; universal pre-K; action on affordable housing; will not take money from political action committees (PACs) tied to corporations or unions. Other views still to be announced
Slogan: One Nation. One Destiny
Age on Inauguration Day: 69
Entered race: March 1, 2019
Career: Stanford drop-out who graduated from University of Washington and Williamette University School of Law before working as a city prosecutor in Selah, WA. First elected to Washington House of Representatives in 1989 and again in 1990; won Congressional seat in 1992 elections but lost in 1994 and then had failed 1996 gubernatorial run. Returned to Congress in 1998 elections and stayed until 2012 to run for governor. Won first term 51.5 to 48.5; re-elected in 2016 by 54.4 to 45.6
Family: Born in Seattle to late parents Frank, a Navy veteran and high school teacher and coach, and Adele, a Sears sales clerk. Married high school and college sweetheart Trudi since 1972. Three adult sons Jack, a radio producer in Washington D.C.; Connor, director of a Washington state non-profit for the disabled; and Joe, who works for King County, WA’s department of natural resources and parks. Grandfather of three
Religion: Non-denominational Protestant
Views on key issues: Running to combat climate change with praise for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal – his record in Washington D.C. including aspiring to ‘zero emissions’ buildings and largely eliminate fossil fuel use; vocal gun control advocate; fought Trump’s ban on entry to people from seven Muslim-majority countries; called moratorium on death penalty in Washington; supported marijuana legalization in Washington and expected to do so federally; will not take money from political action committees; healthcare position still unclear
Slogan: Our moment
Age on Inauguration Day: 68
Entered race: March 4, 2019 with Good Morning America interview
Career: Wesleyan University-educated geologist who moved to Colorado to work in petroleum industry but was laid off and started Wynkoop Brewing Company, the first craft brewpub in 1988 in Denver’s LoDo (lower downtown) area. Ran for mayor of Denver as an outsider in 2003 and won, then won a second term in 2007. Ran for Colorado governor in 2010 and won 51 per cent of the vote; his nearest rival took 36.5 per cent. Won re-election 49.3 to 46 in 2014, but was term limited and ended his second term in January 2019
Family: Married to second wife Robin Pringle, 40, a vice president at LibertyMedia Corp., owners of Sirius XM. Divorced first wife Helen Thorpe in 2012 after 10 years of marriage; ex-couple have son Teddy, a high school student. Born and brought up in Narbeth, in the Main Line of Philadelphia, his father’s ancestors include Civil War Union general Andrew Hickenlooper
Views on key issues: Voiced support for Green New Deal but has also been in favor of fracking; has not embraced single-payer healthcare but expanded Medicaid in Colorado; long record of being pro-gun control; pro-choice but has gone out of his way to talk about reducing unplanned teenage pregnancies ; opposed to the death penalty; advocated for gay marriage
Slogan: To be announced
Age on Inauguration Day: 39
Entered race: Announced formation of exploratory committee January 23, 2019
Career: Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar who got a second degree from Oxford before working as a McKinsey management consultant and being commissioned as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer. Elected South Ben mayor in 2011 and served in combat in 2013, won re-election in 2015
Family: Came out as gay during second mayoral run and married husband Chasten Glezman, a middle school teacher in 2018. Parents were University of Notre Dame academics. Surname is pronounced BOTT-edge-edge. Would be first openly gay president and first combat veteran since George H.W. Bush
Views on key issues: Has said Democratic party needs a ‘fresh start’; wrote an essay in praise of Bernie Sanders aged 17; backed paid parental leave for city employees; other policies unknown
Slogan: To be announced
Age on Inauguration Day: 39
Entered race: Still to formally file any papers but said she would run on January 11 2019
Career: Born on American Samoa, a territory, and therefore may be subject to questions over whether she is natural-born. Raised largely in Hawaii, she co-founded an environmental non-profit with her father as a teenager and was elected to the State Legislature aged 21, its youngest member in history. Enlisted in the National Guard and served two tours, one in Iraq 2004-2006, then as an officer in Kuwait in 2009. Ran for Honolulu City Council in 2011, and House of Representatives in 2012
Family: Married to her second husband, Abraham Williams, a cinematographer since 2015. First marriage to childhood sweetheart Eduardo Tamayo in 2002 ended in 2006. Father Mike Gabbard is a Democratic Hawaii state senator, mother Carol Porter runs a non-profit. Would be first Samoan-American, first Hindu and first female president
Views on key issues: Has apologized for anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage views; wants marijuana federally legalized; opposed to most U.S. foreign interventions; backs $15 minimum wage and universal health care; was the second elected Democrat to meet Trump after his 2016 victory
Slogan: To be announced
Age on Inauguration Day: 57
Entered race: Filed papers July 28, 2017
Career: Three-time Maryland congressman, first winning election in 2012. Previously set up publicly-traded companies lending capital to healthcare and mid-size businesses and was youngest CEO at the time of a New York Stock Exchange-listed firm
Family: Married father of four; wife April works for children’s issues nonprofit
Views on key issues: Social liberal in favor of legalized pot and gun control but not single-payer healthcare; fiscally conservative
Slogan: Focus on the Future
Age on Inauguration Day: 46
Entered race: Filed papers November 6, 2018
Career: Started a dotcom flop then become healthcare and education tech executive who set up nonprofit Venture for America
Family: Married father of two; would be first Asian-American president
Religion: Reformed Church
Views on key issues: Warns of rise of robots and artificial intelligence, wants $1,000 a month universal basic income and social media regulated
Slogan: Humanity First
Age on Inauguration Day: 68
Entered race: Announced exploratory committee November 15, 2018. Formally entered January 28, 2019
Career: Dropped out of Ponoma College, California, became part of the counter culture and anti-war movement and ran a ‘metaphysical bookstore’ before publishing spiritual guide A Return to Love and being praised by Oprah, sending it to number one. Published series of follow-ups and founded AIDS charity and subsequently more non-profits including a peace movement. Ran for Congress in 2014 and lost
Family: Born to immigration attorney father Sam and housewife mother Sophie in Houston, Texas. Married for ‘a minute and a half’ to unnamed man; daughter India was born in 1990 but Williamson declines to name her father
Views on key issues: Wants vast expansion of physical and mental healthcare; and nutrition and lifestyle reforms including ban on marketing processed and sugary foods to children; universal pre-K; much of the Green New Deal’s proposals including a de-carbonized economy, electric cars and rebuilding mass transit; gun control through licensing; wants more vacation time; pro decriminalizing all drugs
Slogan: Join the Evolution
AND THOSE WHO’VE ALREADY WITHDRAWN
RICHARD OJEDA. West Virginia ex- state senator and paratrooper veteran
Entered race: November 12, 2018. Quit: January 25, 2019
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