Clinton vs. Trump: Who Is More Tech-Friendly?


If nothing else, the 2016 U.S. presidential race has been a radical case study in stark contrasts: When your two main choices are an establishment career politician and a disruptive reality TV star, it’s hard to imagine many American voters still haven’t made up their minds.

But for rank-and-file tech workers who care about policies that directly affect their industry, it’s easy why you might feel passed over this election season, especially now that both parties have officially announced their nominees. Neither Democrat Hillary Clinton nor Republican Donald Trump has made tech a major platform issue on the campaign trail so far, and neither candidate seems to have a consistent or well-defined stance on some of the biggest issues facing the tech sector.

In fact, both nominees have repeatedly demonstrated a distinct lack of technical competence, whether it was Clinton conducting government business on a private email server or Trump suggesting that the way to defeat ISIS is to simply “close up” parts of the Internet. Such stumbles only create more uncertainty for tech pros hoping that the next president will confidently steer the digital economy toward a prosperous future. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on the question of which candidate might execute the most tech-friendly policies.

“I’m going to call it a tossup at the moment—largely unknowable,” said Jeff Eisenach, a tech policy expert and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a pro-business research group in Washington.

Eisenach, who favors Trump, said he thinks the business mogul would be a better choice when it comes to clamping down on regulations that might hinder some of the fastest-growing tech companies. He cites recent battles fought by Uber in Democratic strongholds such as New York and Austin, Texas, where local officials have called for stricter background checks for ride-sharing companies. Assuming a Clinton administration would favor a regulatory environment consistent with much of the Democratic Party, Eisenach said a Clinton victory could spell trouble for companies that depend on a freewheeling, hassle-free gig economy.

“It’s Democrats who are going after the Airbnbs and Ubers of the world and protecting the incumbent hotel and taxi companies,” Eisenach said. “I don’t mean to be casting stones here, but I think that’s an accurate characterization.”

Yet regulation is only part of the story, and Eisenach concedes that Clinton would likely be a more tech-friendly candidate when it comes to free trade. Tech companies operate globally, after all, and Trump has made fierce anti-globalization rhetoric a cornerstone of his campaign.

“On foreign trade issues, you’d probably have to give the nod to Hillary on balance,” Eisenach said. “She seems to be more of a free trader than Trump, who seems to be—if you take him at his word—quite a protectionist.”

The Proof Is in the Policy

It’s not that the candidates have been completely radio silent on tech. Late last month, the Clinton campaign released its “Initiative on Technology & Innovation,” which outlined an agenda for growing the tech economy. The five-part plan includes commitments to STEM education, computer science, and broadband infrastructure, among other things. It has won praise from technology writers like Dan Gillmor, who called it “surprisingly solid” in an article for Slate.

On the other side of the ticket, delegates to the Republican National Convention recently adopted the GOP’s official 2016 party platform, which addresses numerous tech-related policy issues, from net neutrality to data encryption and privacy. Like Clinton’s plan, the GOP platform encourages efforts to expand broadband networks and foster the connectivity needed to allow the tech industry to flourish. It also supports simplifying the tax code and lowering the corporate tax rate, which Republicans say would “create incentives for investment and innovation.”

Trump, too, has espoused such positions as part of his tax plan, but his campaign has yet to put out its own proposal specific to tech policy, and in fact Trump has been publicly hostile toward companies like Apple and tech power players like Jeff Bezos of Amazon. The feeling is mutual for many Silicon Valley insiders, 145 of whom signed an open letter earlier this month saying a Donald Trump presidency would be “a disaster for innovation.”

Some industry trade groups, meanwhile, are also getting impatient with the GOP nominee. “With every election cycle, the growing influence of technology and innovation is further shaping the public policy discourse in our country,” Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association, said in a statement last week. “We’re hopeful the [GOP] platform’s inclusion of these issues means we’ll soon see a detailed policy agenda from the Trump-Pence campaign, outlining its specific positions and priorities on technology and innovation.”

For tech workers, and the American economy as a whole, there couldn’t be more at stake this November. A recent industry report from International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that the global IT market (hardware, software, services, and telecommunications) will hit $3.8 trillion dollars this year—up from $3.7 trillion in 2015; the U.S. market comprises about 28 percent of that. An estimated 5.04 million U.S. workers were employed in core I.T. occupations last year, up 3.1 percent from 2014.

In other words, the next president will have a massive digital ship to steer, and tech policies will be integral to the voyage, with domestic and global implications that will reverberate well into the 21st century. So if you still haven’t made up your mind, no pressure—it’s only the entire future of civilization that hangs in the balance.

17 Responses to “Clinton vs. Trump: Who Is More Tech-Friendly?”

  1. The question is meaningless, since mot Tech people are immature children who are ignorant of the fact that the US government (both parties) continue to flood the nation with cheap labor (H-1B’s) from overseas and take away potential fine careers for American young people.

    At least Trump has made a few comments that he wants to enforce immigration laws and even reduce all forms of immigration into the USA, including the crooked, cheap labor scam called the H-1B visa program (aka, the Full Indian Employment Act).

    The US Government is supposed to worry first about Americans, and not the entire world. Duh.

    BTW, I’m sure you won’t post this comment because it goes against your liberal-progressive, globalist, “diversity” “can’t we all get along” nonsense you peddle 24/7/365.

  2. SecAdept

    I think the answer here is obvious depending on which side of the fence you are on. If you are a billionaire like Zuckerberg or Gates, then you want more cheap labor because it benefits your bottom line. However, if you are working American in tech, then you do not want more progressive globalist immigration that steals jobs from Americans that probably do better work, but cost more.
    The presidential candidates have made their position on immigration very clear, so the choice is very clear. Everything regarding tech other than immigration should be the purview of the free market and government should stay out of it.

    There should be no massive digital ship to steer by a president. If that is how the market is working now, then it’s completely rigged in favor of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and small to mid-sized companies that cannot afford K-street lobbyists have no chance at all.

  3. GSR you’re right on it!! I completely agree!! There is nothing stopping the H1B visa problem, and it is, a major problem!!

    Nothing has been done to stop it! NOTHING!! Anytime anyone says anything about the Indian H1B machine it falls on deaf ears, and… it is designed to be exactly that way!!

    This is a very serious issue and Clinton will promote it. I don’t know what Trump will do.

  4. h1-b man

    HI-B is great. I work for $2/hr. I live in house with eleven other colleagues. Government says we can’t work on some contracts — boss man just lies, nobody checks. Before wives could not work. Obama grant work-visa’s to wives. Now two times workers. Hope Hillary get elected — we bring in cousins too.

  5. Michael Stout

    Wow Dice, you played the neutral ground for all of a few sentences just to turn and attack Trump.
    What difference does it make to have tech jobs if all Clinton wants to do is expand Obamacare, costing us a second mortgage out of our already lacking paychecks…
    Dice has no business getting political as we are slammed by every other news source already with enough lies and redirects from mainstream media. Keep it professional, thanks

  6. How come the comments in here act like we don’t have a global economy? The phone you are using was probably made outside the US… The same goes for cars.. Here in America we buy foreign stuff but go to Tokyo I promise you will see more American cars being driven..

  7. Sorry, but there are several problems with this opinion piece, and the comments that I have seen as of now (just two of them). First off, allowing someone from the AEI to frame the entire discussion is just wrong. While the piece correctly states that the AEI is “pro-business,” it is more than that. It is deeply rooted in the right wing, and advocates (& lobbies) for strictly neocon positions. (Remember the neocons? The ones who championed the US going into Iraq for “regime change?” Folks like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld?) The AEI is strongly anti-worker, and pits its influence against anything that benefits the working class. Let’s face it, folks: the vast majority of tech workers are the modern day working class.

    And while I wholeheartedly agree that H1B visas have done much to gut the middle class American workforce – far more so than illegal immigration – the idea that Trump’s radical anti-immigration stance is acceptable (or even workable) is, well, nonsense in this highly interconnected day and age. And the AEI has NOT stood against rampant H1B overuse: quite the contrary, they have championed it. I agree the Clinton’s have not been the best in terms of seeing how to globalization has hurt many educated and tech-savvy workers. I do believe now, though, especially with the influence of Bernie Sanders, the Democrats have started to figure that out better. The US should look to how most European countries have adopted globalization, much as Senator Sanders advises.

    Donald Trump’s claim to help American workers is nothing but lip service. And his business policies have devastated many hard-working people, especially in the highly-skilled trades. He regularly brags about getting those whom he contracted to take only pennies on the dollar com[pared to what was agreed in the original contract. Not even going into how unstable the man is truly showing himself to be, do you really think he could care less about the tech industry – or, indeed, anyone’s welfare but his own?

    Come on, I would like to think most tech people are smarter than that.

    Next time, Dice, please either get someone with credentials, someone who is not tied to a highly biased think tank, to speak to this important issue. My suggestion: Robert Reich. Or find someone with the proper credentials who is based on the left and give him or her equal time.

  8. TomSlick

    Why does Dice not support Democracy? There are at least 3 parties that will be on the ballot for all Americans to vote for. The Libertarian party is polling at 11% to 13% this year due to the two candidates dice covers being not fit for office.
    The Libertarian candidate will end the H1-B tax subsidy along with many other unfair taxpayer welfare handouts that block technical innovations.
    But, DICE doesn’t respect the service men that sacrificed to preserve Democracy? Dice is practicing censorship of our country’s most basic freedom?
    Dice management may not agree with the idea of multiple political parties, The ethical image of Dice to not promote Democracy shows all of us your character.
    The next article should be: What Job Site represents American Values. That way, we can put Dice at the bottom of the list.

  9. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are in a bar. Donald leans over, and With A smile on his face, says, “The media is really tearing you apart for That Scandal.”
    Hillary: “You mean my lying about Benghazi?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “You mean the massive voter fraud?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “You mean the military not getting their votes counted?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “Using my secret private server with classified material to Hide my Activities?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “The NSA monitoring our phone calls, emails and everything Else?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “Using the Clinton Foundation as a cover for tax evasion, Hiring Cronies, And taking bribes from foreign countries?
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “You mean the drones being operated in our own country without The Benefit of the law?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “Giving 123 Technologies $300 Million, and right afterward it Declared Bankruptcy and was sold to the Chinese?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “You mean arming the Muslim Brotherhood and hiring them in the White House?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “Whitewater, Watergate committee, Vince Foster, commodity Deals?”
    Trump: “No the other one:”
    Hillary: “The funding of neoNazis in the Ukraine that led to the toppling of the democratically elected president and to the biggest crisis that country has had since WWII ?”
    Trump: “No the other one:”
    Hillary: “Turning Libya into chaos?”
    Trump: “No the other one:”
    Hillary: “Being the mastermind of the so-called “Arab Spring” that only brought chaos, death and destruction to the Middle East and North Africa ?
    Trump: “No the other one:”
    Hillary: “Leaving four Americans to die in Benghazi and go to sleep?
    Trump: “No the other one:”
    Hillary: “Trashing Mubarak, one of our few Muslim friends?”
    Trump: “No the other one:”
    Hillary: “Encouraging and supporting the murders of Palestinians and the destruction of their homes, towns and villages by Israel ?”
    Trump: “No the other one:”
    Hillary: “The funding and arming of terrorists in Syria, the destruction and destabilization of that nation, giving the order to our lapdogs in Turkey and Saudi Arabia to give sarin gas to the “moderate” terrorists in Syria that they eventually used on civilians, and framed Assad, and had it not been for the Russians and Putin, we would have used that as a pretext to invade Syria, put a puppet in power, steal their natural resources, and leave that country in total chaos, just like we did with Libya?
    Trump: “No the other one:”
    Hillary: “The creation of the biggest refugees crisis since WWII
    Trump: “No the other one:”
    Hillary: “Leaving Iraq in chaos? ”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “The DOJ spying on the press?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “You mean HHS Secretary Sibelius shaking down health insurance Executives?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “Giving our cronies in SOLYNDRA $500 MILLION DOLLARS and 3 Months Later they declared bankruptcy and then the Chinese bought it?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “The NSA monitoring citizens’ ?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “The State Department interfering with an Inspector General Investigation on departmental sexual misconduct?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “Me, The IRS, Clapper and Holder all lying to Congress?”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “Threats to all of Bill’s former mistresses to keep them quiet”
    Trump: “No, the other one.”
    Hillary: “I give up! … Oh wait, I think I’ve got it! When I stole the White House furniture, silverware, when Bill left Office?”
    Trump: “THAT’S IT! I almost forgot about that one

  10. The question should have been “who is more friendly to tech workers?” It’s the workers of any industry that makes it grow. In the 60’s through 80’s it’s the American workers (and not Indians) who were at the forefront of the computer technology frontier – inventors of software and hardware, the likes of operating systems, data bases, the mouse, Internet, and a whole lot more. Beginning in 1991, with the advent of the H1B and off-shoring of software work, policy makers backed by greedy CEO’s opted to embrace liberal ideals and profits over the knowledge-value of America’s tech workers. After 25 years of H1B and off-shoring, America has relegated its tech leadership to India, thereby undermining this strategic knowledge industry and according to IEEE, any significant increase in the H1B’s annual quota will permanently destroy US IT workforce. I have been in the software industry for over 40 years and can attest firsthand that America has lost its edge in software knowledge to foreigners – once an industry dominated by the baby-boom generation. It would be up to the next president to ensure that America regains its leadership in this industry, and this could not be achieved until the H1B completely brought to a halt.

  11. Charles thomas

    I disagree as to trump’s comment regarding closing up parts of the Internet being an indicator of his ignorance.

    In a recent article i read, there was a lot of conversations to the effect that we cannot stop terrorists from using the Internet to communicate, but we can close up the public Internet, thus restricting them to TOR and the ‘darknet’.

    I think that would mean less privacy, but aren’t we headed that way either route we take?

  12. OracleDBA

    I have been working in for approximately 25 years. I have mostly worked for Fortune 100 companies. I am part of a very very small American minority in the IT work space. It blows my mind when I come across Indian workers that have almost no skill set and are clearly learning on “the job”. How does someone travel half way around the world and get a job here in the US with no real skill set? Why aren’t these types of jobs given to local graduates?
    The answer is that the companies that sponsor them, “Infosis” for example have the contracts with the major employers and manage to place these people, skill set or not. As long as the Bill Gates in this country lobby for more H1B workers, making the case that we don’t have enough “skilled” IT workers already here … we as Americans have lost to foreign workers what should have been a decent career in IT.
    I watched my niece graduate this year from Columbia university with an IT degree. She was part of an American minority in her class. It makes no sense to major in IT these days as the competition in the market place is ridiculous. I most recently worked a number of years at the #2 Cola and snack foods provider only to have my job outsourced to an Indian owned company. I was given the option to either go work for the Indian company and continue supporting the same databases I have been supporting for years or hit the street. I am 57 yrs old.

  13. Will Coppes

    Trump also warned that Silicon Valley might be in the midst of a tech bubble akin to thecrash. I’m talking about companies that have never made any money, that have a bad concept and that are valued at billions of dollars, so here we go again, he said .