Republicans = Missing the Boat on Tech Issues

I’ve been talking about the (weirdly hostile) Republican reaction to net neutrality, and was even quoted in the LA Times last week on the subject. It’s a topic that’s near and dear to me, since I’m a Republican who happens to strongly support net neutrality. Apparently that makes me a lonely outlier in my own party.

As I said in the Times article, I believe that opposition to net neutrality will seriously damage the credibility of the party with tech companies, and internet users.

But beyond that, I think that there’s real damage in the way the party has gone about voicing its opposition to the issue. The scare tactics, calling net neutrality a “government takeover” or “Obamacare for the internet” doesn’t just indicate the party is aligned against technology companies and users on the politics. It shows a complete lack of understanding of an issue that’s important to big swaths of the tech industry (whether you support net neutrality or not). In short, it makes republicans appear backwards and ignorant in the eyes of the tech community…and that’s a really tough impression to recover from.

It’s a shame because I believe there’s a big opportunity for real leadership on technology issues right now. Either party can pick up a lot of support in Silicon Valley by exhibiting a basic understanding of the technologies that power the internet, and the issues that internet users care about.

It’s not terribly difficult and it’s definitely not partisan. It’s too bad that my party chose to put itself so far behind.

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General Counsel @ Automattic

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