Reid Hoffman Hasn't Given Up on Biden Just Yet

Reid. Very much. A lot of people are following the calculus, which is that Trump is quite operative and you can buy influence with him. The crypto industry is all about the economics on this stuff. They’ll sort it out if it’s Biden, but they can buy influence with Trump. I think there’s a big move from the crypto side to being pro-Trump.

Makena: Does Biden’s debate performance risk alienating more donors and people in Silicon Valley?

Reid: Sadly, yes. Silicon Valley, maybe even more vigorously than most places in the world, tends to focus on leaders. Who’s the founder? Who’s the CEO? It’s how we operate. I’ve been working to remind them about how the CEO is stronger because of their team composition.

Now it’s not just how do they stand up and speak in a debate, but how do they compare a strong team. You have to remind them it’s Gina Raimondo, Pete Buttigieg, and Jennifer Granholm. They think Lina Khan is terrible. I agree. But the overall team, including the chief of staff and all the rest, when you compare that with Trump, [Trump’s] overall team is terrible.

Makena: But another part of investing is betting that a company will be successful. In this case, donating to the campaign is betting that Biden can win. Are donors starting to withhold their support over doubts Biden could beat Trump?

Reid: It’s definitely caused a bunch of turmoil. I have seen emails from people in Silicon Valley who say they won’t donate more until they have more confidence. It’s a negative factor. Unequivocally, part of what I’m trying to be a voice for in this stuff is to say elections are a composition of negative factors and positive.

The fact is, people calling for Biden to step down should, frankly, call for both Biden and Trump to step down. You can say one should step down because he’s slow and the other should step down because he’s a lying felon.

[Last month, Democratic donors Lauren Powell Jobs and Ron Conway were looking for ways to convince Biden to drop out, according to The New York Times.]

Makena: What I’m hearing is that some donors aren’t completely dropping their support for Biden but are taking a beat to reevaluate. But does this go far enough to turn people toward Trump?

Reid: Absolutely zero. Part of the reason you hear such loud complaints about how Biden should release his delegates and open up the convention is because people are so frenetic about the dangers of Trump winning.

Makena: When it comes to folks like David Sacks supporting Trump, what is it that you think these people are hoping to receive in the end?

Reid: Ultimately, influence. Whether it’s crypto-favorable laws, ambassadorships in different countries, an ability to go to the White House, or maybe getting a Rush Limbaugh Medal of Freedom, it’s all about trying to buy influence.

Makena: What do you think the Biden campaign needs to do to counteract all of this?

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