[Note: This item comes from friend Robert Berger. DLH]
Mark Pincus and Reid Hoffman are launching a new group to rethink the Democratic Party
It’s called Win the Future, and Pincus is even courting potential WTF candidates like the frontman of ’90s rock band Third Eye Blind.
By TONY ROMM
Jul 3 2017
Mark Pincus and Reid Hoffman want to hack the Democratic Party.
Not literally. Not the likes of what befell the team behind Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, resulting in scores of private emails being published online — and countless news stories that helped seal her defeat. No, Pincus, the co-founder of Zynga, and Hoffman, the brains behind LinkedIn, want to force Democrats to rewire their philosophical core, from their agenda to the way they choose candidates in elections — the stuff of politics, they said, that had been out of reach for most voters long before Donald Trump became president.
That’s the guiding principle behind Win the Future, a new project by the tech duo that’s launching in time for July 4. The effort — called, yes, WTF for short — aims to be “a new movement and force within the Democratic Party, which can act like its own virtual party,” said Pincus, its lead architect, during an interview.
Think of WTF as equal parts platform and movement. Its new website will put political topics up for a vote — and the most resonant ideas will form the basis of the organization’s orthodoxy. To start, the group will query supporters on two campaigns: Whether or not they believe engineering degrees should be free to all Americans, and if they oppose lawmakers who don’t call for Trump’s immediate impeachment.
Participants can submit their own proposals for platform planks — and if they win enough support, primarily through likes and retweets on Twitter, they’ll become part of WTF’s political DNA, too. Meanwhile, WTF plans to raise money in a bid to turn its most popular policy positions into billboard ads that will appear near airports serving Washington, D.C., ensuring that “members of Congress see it,” Pincus said.
WTF is also eyeing more audacious efforts: Initially, Pincus had planned to solicit feedback at launch on recruiting a potential challenger to Democrats’ leader in the House, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, in a primary election. That idea is on hold — for now — but Pincus and Hoffman are still trying to solicit candidates to run elsewhere as so-called “WTF Democrats.” For Pincus, one of his early targets: Stephan Jenkins from Third Eye Blind. The two have met in recent months, in fact.
Together, the Zynga and LinkedIn leaders have contributed $500,000 to their still-evolving project, they said, and they’re aided by Jeffrey Katzenberg, a major Democratic donor and former chairman of Disney, as well as venture capitalists Fred Wilson and Sunil Paul.
Of course, there is something of an irony in a new populist political platform backed by wealthy tech and media moguls who despise big-money politics yet historically have donated regularly and generously to Democratic candidates and causes.
Pincus sees it differently. “If you look at the ethos of Silicon Valley and look at the ethos of our companies … it’s not about me, it’s not about Reid, it’s about us getting out of the way,” he said. “My only agenda is, I would like to see mainstream America more empowered to set an agenda.”