Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Mark Zuckerberg Hired Obama and Bush Campaign Managers (qz.com)
55 points by rosstex on Jan 11, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments

I have a feeling a lot of people here are going to scoff at this news, because they think politics should be left to someone "better".

We live in a country where people like Mitch McConnell, Jason Chaffetz, Jim Inhofe, and Trump are political leaders.

At this point, anything is better. I hope more people in our community will volunteer themselves to the work.

Heck, if I didn't have to worry about paying my mortgage, I would. I can't be any worse than the integrity-less lizards running the show now.

> At this point, anything is better. I hope more people in our community will volunteer themselves to the work.

After watching the sheer amount of personal destruction leveled at Trump (a relative political newcomer), what private citizen in their right mind would want to run for office?

There's a reason professional politicians stick to soundbites and avoid the public as much as possible: any unscripted exposure is a chance for the media to demonize them and tear them down. And the public -- the same public that claims to want ''ordinary folks'' to run for office -- gleefully pulls out the torches and pitchforks every time.

Think about the worst skeletons you have in your closet and pretend that the most savvy oppo-research / viral media minds are sitting in a room figuring out how to spin each one into the most salacious, sort-of-but-not-really-true headline possible. That's what I saw both Clinton and Trump deal with in the last cycle. I am an eternal optimist and hope the system can be improved in the future but for now I think the American people are getting just about the level of politics they deserve.

Well, yeah, that's just how it goes in politics. However, Trump is a bad example. He brought this on himself and he's solely responsible for making that race so vitriolic.

Case-in-point, see the BBC coverage in meltdown over the Labour leaders nuanced view to immigration.

People crave targets and promises, It doesn't matter one bit about what is achievable.

small example, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38561501

There was actually a petition to sack Laura Kuessenberg from the BBC because of her Fox News-y approach to attacking Labour and their response was to cry sexism/misogyny:


Surprisingly it worked.

Interesting list of only Republicans you have there.

They're not heartless monsters. They have constituencies that they serve as well as pander to. They care about those people. They just have a different worldview than you.

I'm not a fan of theirs any more than I am of Zuckerberg and his propensity to buy up and lockdown whatever he can control. He's shown time and time again that little people (whether users or devs) don't really matter. Why would he be a different politician?

Those politicians may be flawed, but there is an advantage in having competing centers of power.

I had DEM names on there, but I deleted them because I didn't want to fall into the trap of false equivalencies.

> They have constituencies that they serve as well as pander to

Pandering is ok. My district has a lot of farms, so my representative panders a lot to the farmers. I don't mind that. It doesn't upset me.

It upsets me when people like Mitch McConnell willingly undermine our democracy by trying to hide information from voters. It upsets me when people like Chaffetz waste our money on partisan witch hunts... (You are free to list the sins of DEM candidates if you want. It would only further strengthen my point.)

These actions are beyond pandering. These people are not trying to serve their constituents. They are trying to serve themselves and amass power for their party.

> Those politicians may be flawed

If they are flawed, and Zuckerberg is flawed (by your reasoning), why choose one over the other? Why not give him a chance if you think what we have now is already flawed.

> If they are flawed, and Zuckerberg is flawed (by your reasoning), why choose one over the other? Why not give him a chance if you think what we have now is already flawed.

Because I'm tired of voting against people and not for them. I will only vote for the candidate I want otherwise democracy is a sham of an institution. It's how we end up with the candidates we had and how we will continue to nerf any hope of change.

Him starting his efforts by recanting his atheism is a sad sign for his policy. I also firmly believe it's not needed. And that level of pandering is what keeps us down.

I'm very, very left leaning and have my degree in Economics. You'd probably be surprised how many Trump supporters I've spoken with who love what I have to say. I do not pander or change my beliefs to what I think they like because that helps no one. Instead I listen to them and support their feelings and intuition with alternative views.

E.g. A lot of Trump supporters I've met hate regulation. I explain that there are in fact two types of regulation. The first being "Economic" which is strictly bad as it creates barriers to entry and distorts the market. The second "Safety and Soundness" which is strictly good because it creates things like seat belts and warranties. None of them, not a one, argues with that or refutes it.

E.g. Tax breaks are "socialist." We have a budget every year as a nation, that budget is not reduced when we reduce taxes. That means in effect we are giving away money when we give tax breaks, that financial obligation must be filled by national debt or higher taxes for those who didn't qualify for the break. A lovely thing to ask right after, "did you get a tax break this year? Oh no? Me either."

I'm not pandering to them, I'm showing them there is something beyond simple ideology that is nuanced and complex. That they can live without it (we all can). Ideology is ego and nothing more.

Lastly, and probably more relevant to the idea of Zuckerberg running, I do not want anyone for president who thinks privacy should be a thing of the past running the NSA, CIA, FBI, and military. It's ideological nonsense and I'm done with that shit.

> I have a feeling a lot of people here are going to scoff at this news, because they think politics should be left to someone "better".

Personally I think the opposite - politics should be left to someone "worse"; even Zuckerberg - for all the hate he gets around here - should be above politics. I wonder, who in their right mind would like to join this circus?

And yes, it may be "undemocratic" of me to say it. But does this make it less true? Politics - especially in democratic countries - really seems to bring out the absolute worst, most pathetic behaviour out of people (and not just politicians, also media and regular supporters).


> Heck, if I didn't have to worry about paying my mortgage, I would. I can't be any worse than the integrity-less lizards running the show now.

That's the magic of political scene - you don't start as a lizard, you become one in the process! You can't play the game without it, because at each step, a person who is willing to sacrifice a little bit of their integrity for some deal wins over people who are not. Rinse and repeat, and at the end come out lizards.

I wonder if Zuckerberg is planning to capitalize on the fractured party landscape. 2020 would be a prime year for a new ticket.

As far as I can tell, his politics don't fit cleanly into any of the four (broad) ideological groups we see today (those being far and center conservatives and liberals).

He doesn't have that clout.

He strikes me as a big money, big government guy, which isn't that different from Bush or Obama. They also essentially all come from that Ivy League background so they have some similar worldviews at least. What do you see which suggests he is different?

What might he be running for? Representative seems too low and too political for a guy of his stature. Senate? I think he's overplaying his hand if he thinks at 35 he could run for any office higher than that and win with no prior experience and not a ton of charisma.

I think you're absolutely right about clout. He doesn't have the presence or charisma for senatorship or above. I have doubts about his success - what I don't doubt is his aspirations.

He's big money and big government, but so is everybody from those four ideological groups (with the exception of the libertarian and anarchistic contingents). Parties aren't always formed from a unique political agenda or worldview - they're just as often a means to cut through existing party bureaucracy and raise the heat on the competition in tight races.

> He doesn't have that clout.

Theoretically, couldn't he just have his engineers tweak the Facebook algorithm to make him President? Figure out how many swing state voters you need, set their Facebook feeds to deliver positive news about Zuckerberg and negative news about rivals.

I doubt it would even be ruled illegal in the current landscape. I'm sure the media would raise a stink, but the voters you care about would never see those scathing op-eds.

Shouldn't that be illegal. But yeah probably in America if you own the media then you can have it say whatever you want.

I personally think Bill Gates should run, he'd be a much better President, and much more likely to win.

I don't think he's running. But, were he to, he'd go for Governor with an eye on the White House in 2024 or 2028, depending on who wins the White House in 2020.

The primary would be tough, and I don't think Zuckerberg would fare any better than Fiorina or Whitman did in their Senate and Gubernatorial runs. The big question for me at this moment is whether Xavier Becerra runs for Governor in 2018. My money is on him winning the Governorship if he does.

I assume Becerra is angling for the White House, and he needs a bigger podium than AG to make a run for it.

The current election showed us that a lot of people just gobble up what they're fed on Facebook. Who better to take advantage of that than the owner?

I immediately thought to myself, Mark is not old enough, you have to be 35. Then I looked it up and to my surprise he is 32. I always thought he was in his late twenties.

Tempus fugit. Zuckerberg has been around for quite a while.

Which again triggers my early-middle-age crisis :(.

It definitely seems like a Zuckerberg thing to do, to run at the earliest possible age.

The big brother candidate.

I think he plans to run for office in 2020.

Since Trump could do it, there are probably a bunch of celebrities who also believe they can do it. We might see a very illustrious primary in 2019.

Kanye West has bigger chances than Zuckerberg in my opinion.

I suspect he'll get advice telling him to "put feelers out" in 2020 like Trump did in 2000. It maybe 8-12 years before he can get the blue collar vote.

Trump didn't put feelers out in 2000, he began campaigning for the Reform Party nomination (a number of candidates were attracted, because they had secured federal matching funds based on their 1996 performance) before withdrawing (citing, at the time, a desire not to be associated with the other Reform Party candidates, particularly David Duke, who in 2016 he would claim to never have heard of before.)

I think he is far too unlikeable for this to work, on top of being up against Trump. But sure, it would be very interesting for him to try.

Trump was far too unlikeable also, but look what happened. There is no rule book anymore.

Trump had several things going for him:

1. He is independently wealthy, and has no public office experience whatsoever. Thus, the normal pressures that cause every other candidate to end their campaign when sufficient controversy arises had no effect on Trump. He had no political career or general reputation to ruin, and he has fuck you money.

2. Unlike Trump, countless other presidential candidates have ended their campaigns in controversy. Thus, there was a mountain of precedence to inform the media that the each week's controversy would be the one that ended his campaign. The result was that every media organization that reported on these events racked up a 13 month streak of being wrong. Its trivial to point this out as a witch hunt after enough time, and at the same time, conflate them with fake news.

3. No matter where you come down on his tactics, its fairly noncontroversial to say that Trump is a master of negotiation. As evidenced by his continually evolving policy prescriptions, he is adept at reading his audience (supporters and detractors), and putting forward messaging that both pleases his supporters, and displeases his detractors. This has multiple positive feedback effects because the pleased take pleasure in witnessing the displeasure of the displeased. The continued pleasure of the pleased is a source of continued displeasure for the displeased as well.

4. Trump makes a lot of obvious generalizations about the world at large: The media sensationalizes, terrorism is problematic, illegal immigration creates a glut of low wage workers, America was a great nation in the past, lobbyists have largely captured congress, the middle class is shrinking, etc. It's trivially simple to control for the variable of Trump, and observe that these phenomena all persist, and have for years. However, there is a psychological element to the consistency of being "right". If you are directly affected by a shrinking middle class, and have to compete with the glut of low wage workers, and see terrorism as a spontaneous event driven completely by religion, and see our government as a corrupt body that breaks everything it touches, you are highly predisposed to attribute unique wisdom to someone who is merely pointing out conventional wisdom. If you already view someone as an expert on subjects of interest to you, you are additionally predisposed to believe in their abilities to fix all of these ailments, without qualification, previous experience, or even the agreement of a single true expert in relevant fields.

Regarding 2, the other advantage Trump had was that some of the big claims about him were plain and simply untrue. For example, the Slate story about his supposed secret communications channel with Russia - it was an outsourced bulk email provider for his hotels, every single piece of evidence was exactly what you'd expect from such a server, and a number of major news outlets had declined to run the story for that reason. But it just took one publication willing to ignore the issues and run it for the story to spread like wildfire on social media, just like fake news, even being repeated by Hillary Clinton's Twitter account which received a huge number of retweets for it. One of her staff members even attacked the FBI for not investigating it, and once the NYT revealed they had investigated and concluded it was a junk email server, her supporters took this as proof the FBI were conspiring with Trump. The comments section on any vaguely related article were filled with people insisting on this right up until the election. Think about that - we had a situation where people believed the FBI was conspiring with Russia and a presidential candidate because the FBI refused to see junk emails as proof of secret communications between the two.

We're seeing something similar with the latest Trump story, which is also based on a document that's been doing the rounds in media circles for months but was too dubious to report[1], and is being widely and uncritically spread on social media by people who often openly don't care whether what they're claiming is true or not.

[1] https://www.buzzfeed.com/kenbensinger/these-reports-allege-t...

As for 2, Trump grabbed controversy by the balls (erm, pussy) and kept on going (note: I'm just using presidential speech now). Most candidates drop out when those kind of scandals hit, trump just shrugged it off and pretended it didn't exist. We must see Obama's birth certificate but I can't show you my tax return. Sigh.

As for 3, trump doesn't so much negotiate as he does scream at the top of his lungs until the opposition tires and leaves.

As for 4, damn, I hope his naiveness is an intentional ploy or we are in trouble.

Trump is the most unlikeable candidate we've had in my lifetime. Everyone else was just boringly nice in comparison.

Trump was unlikeable to a lot of people, but was up against an opponent with a long history of being completely unacceptable to a lot of people.Trump also picked messages that resonated with a core group of enthusiastic supporters, ginned up constant free press coverage, and is quite charismatic. The rule book has not really changed, except that the power of traditional media gatekeepers has diminished. I cannot imagine who would be excited by Zuckerberg.

I wouldn't be excited by Zuckerberg, nor do I want him to have any political office. But at least I'd know that political office doesn't have an idiot sitting in it. If that's any consolation.

Sadly, I don't really think that intelligence is necessarily a hedge against bad governance or poor ethics. I certainly dislike the every man populist anti-intellectualism I see in US politics, particularly on the Republican side, but there have been plenty of politicians with very impressive academic resumes who I've been equally disappointed in.

What I meant by "If that's any consolation" was:

At least if I know someone (imo) intelligent is in charge, even if they do (imo) bad things, I can tell myself that they do it for a reason, have thought about it and came to a different conclusion than me, which is "fine", I can deal with that. Maybe even discuss with them about it. On the other hand... Stupid doesn't think, has no reasoning behind its action and can't be reasoned with.

In a democracy, a stupid self-interested politician is often a better choice than an intelligent ideologue. To the extent that I've been able to discern any personality at all from Zuckerberg, his positions appear to be negative verging on malevolent (e.g. privacy).

By dismissing The Troll as an idiot, you're falling for his manipulative strategy.

Trump was more unlikeable than his opponent, he was just liked by the right amount of people in the right states.

Are we sure this is for Zuckerberg himself? The visit 50 states makes me think yes, but still I always thought Sheryl Sandberg would make the better politician.

What if it's for everyone instead of just one person. Perhaps Facebook wants to build a better platform for all elected officials as a way to combat the fake news outbreak.

People started predicting this as soon as his comments about atheism became news, now the tour and this. Okay.

lets hope he uses stronger passwords than "dadada" by the time he runs for prez


Holy shit. He could do it. He will be 35 by 2020, so he really could be the next president.

I'd vote for him a heartbeat. He's a young Bill Gates. He would do an amazing job if he could rally the young and make internet voting a reality so people actually participated in government.

Yes, yes, he would scare people about controlling the vote but then he would employ cryptography experts that we would all agree have created a verifiable system...He's technical and looks up to technical people, he would listen to all of them and create unprecedented transparency.

As much as I'm not a fan personally I actually think something like Facebook could fix our democracy. If...if..it was executed in a totally public and transparent way and was a genuine revolution of the people ala Bernie.

We could have an American Social Network that included voting...it may be somewhat expensive but everything could be audited 100 different ways in public...public blockchains as auditing mechanism.

Reserve your username today!


Applications are open for YC Summer 2018

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact