Vote: 5 Tech Leaders Who Could Take on Trump in 2020

February 10, 2017, 3:29 PM UTC
Key Speakers At The Global Entrepreneurship Summit
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., wave to the audience at the conclusion of their panel discussion during the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) at Stanford University in Stanford, California, U.S., on Friday, June 24, 2016. The annual event brings together entrepreneurs from around the world for 3 days of networking, workshops and conferences. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Corporate America has mostly kept silent about President Trump’s performance so far. Except for the tech industry: Despite a fleeting kumbaya moment in Trump Tower after the election, tech bigwigs have made it clear they’re not unhappy about the President’s immigration ban and much more.

But talk only goes so far—especially in Silicon Valley where outspoken “I would do it different” opinions are as common as hoodies and overpriced coffee. If the tech community truly opposes Trump, it could put its money where its mouth is by drafting one of its own to be President.

There’s no shortage of people in the tech world with the influence (and the ego) to make a serious Presidential run. Here are five of them, whose names have come up in political discussions, and why they could—and could not—be President.

Take our straw poll at the end to say who would fare best.

Mark Cuban, Entrepreneur

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Why He Could Be President

The 58-year-old billionaire is hugely popular in the tech world for his outspoken swagger and support for startups. Cuban is also well-known to millions of ordinary Americans as the flamboyant owner of the Dallas Mavericks and his star turns on the competition show Shark Tank. A prominent Trump critic, he has hinted at a White House run in the past, and a betting site last November already lists him as a 100:1 chance to be the next POTUS.

Why He Couldn't

Cuban would be hard-pressed to find a political home with either major party. His fondness for uber-capitalist Ayn Rand won't endear him with many Democrats, while his liberal outlook on social issues would turn off many Republicans. Also, Cuban's in-your-face style might not be what voters want after four years of Donald Trump.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

Fortune Most Powerful Woman Summit 2016

Why She Could Be President

Sandberg became a star at two of the world's best known tech companies (Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) ), and is also well-versed in the ways of Washington thanks to her stint as chief of staff for former U.S. Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers. The 47-year-old also became a celebrity and a hero to millions of women thanks to her book Lean In, and the political movements it spawned. Sandberg could also make history twice over as America's first female and Jewish president.

Why She Couldn't

Sandberg is rich, brilliant, and could activate a large network of supporters. But she is also entirely a product of elite enclaves—Harvard, the Treasury, Silicon Valley—and that could make it hard amid the current age of populism for Sandberg to connect with ordinary Americans.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO

Amazon Unveils Its First Smartphone

Why He Could Be President

Bezos, 53, built one of the most successful companies in U.S. history and, unlike other tech giants, it employs lots of American workers. Amazon (AMZN)  also has a reputation for solving complicated logistics problems, which Bezos could parlay into a platform to rebuild American roads, schools, and more. If he does step into politics, Bezos also has a powerful media megaphone—in the form of the resurgent Washington Post—to promote himself.

Why He Couldn't

It's not clear Bezos's corporate charisma would translate into retail politics, or if he could tolerate months of rallies and glad-handing.  Also, he likely does not want the job. This month, he *almost* closed the door on the idea, telling Billboard, "Oh no, I don't think so" in response to a question about his presidential ambitions.

Kara Swisher, Journalist


DLD17 Conference Munich - "...what's the plan?" - January 15-17,

Why She Could Be President

As one of the country's preeminent tech journalists, Swisher has done more than most to rally Silicon Valley against the Trump administration. In the last two years, a New York magazine profile and frequent TV appearances have helped Swisher raise her profile far beyond Techmeme and other forums for techie insiders. She also has explicit political ambitions and a reputation for ruthlessness. Currently executive editor of tech news site Recode, Swisher could also make two-fold history as the country's first gay and female president.

Why She Couldn't

She lacks the money and name recognition of others on the list, and has fewer political connections, which would make any White House bid a long-shot. And while her anti-Trump fulminations are catnip for the California tech elite, it's doubtful Swisher has changed the mind of a single blue collar voter in Pennsylvania or Michigan, two states that were crucial in the last election.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

Mark Zuckerberg

Why He Could Be President

Fortune's Businessperson of the Year is fantastically wealthy and familiar to most Americans. He also presides over the most powerful communications platform in history, and commands a family-like loyalty from his staff. Zuckerberg also appears to be laying political groundwork with a plan to meet Americans in all 50 states. And while the Constitution says he is too young to be President right now, that will change in 2019 when he turns 35.

Why He Couldn't

By all accounts, Zuckerberg has vastly improved his public speaking and political skills since he founded Facebook as a college freshman. But many people's main impression of him still stems from The Social Network, a movie that (perhaps unfairly) portrayed him as a sulky creep. More recent controversies, like a fuss over a compound Zuckerberg bought in Hawaii, will also make it hard for average Americans to relate to him.


There are, of course, other tech moguls (maybe Marc Benioff of who could make a case for the White House. (Note that some familiar names, like Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, are ineligible as they weren't born in the United States.)

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So you do you think would win in a head-to-head against President Trump? Vote above and let us know!

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