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Here's What Tech Leaders Think About Trump

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors spoke about Trump both onstage and to BuzzFeed News at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit in San Francisco.

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Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of 23andMe

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“I think this election has been a force in [highlighting] much bigger issues about how we think about women and immigration. It's gotten people engaged. I also think the creative energy that's come out about women — there's really the beginning of true change and true movement. And I give Trump thanks for that,” she said, smiling. Issues that affect women, such as sexual assault, were “already starting to reach crescendo,” and have now become national conversations.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post

Alex Wong / Getty Images

"I think the United States is incredibly robust. We’re not a new democracy, we’re very robust, but it is inappropriate for a presidential candidate to erode that around the edges. They should be trying to burnish it instead of erode it. And when you look at the pattern of things, it’s just not going after the media and threatening retribution for people who scrutinize him, it is also saying that he may not give a graceful concession speech if he loses the election. That erodes our democracy around the edges. Saying that he might block his opponent if he wins

erodes our democracy around the edges. These aren’t acceptable behaviors, in my opinion.

Tim Draper, venture capitalist

Danny Moloshok / Reuters

“We have a duopoly in government and it's not working … We're just an ATM and our vote doesn't even seem to count. Washington seems to get a lot more out of California than California gets out of Washington. We have a huge problem. We need a new system. We need a third party. We’re given two candidates and that's the best we can do?!”

Chamath Palihapitiya, founder and CEO of Social Capital

Mike Windle / Getty Images

"The short-term impacts [on the stock market if Trump is elected] are probably overstated and the long-term impacts are probably underestimated. Most of us who have public market exposure are getting an emotive risk off going into November 8th, and so a lot of the volatility is going to be short term and relatively muted if he wins. I just think you have to take a bigger step back and say: It’s like you’re just repudiating all the good things that make America awesome — and the long-term implications of that. People like us, people like me — I immigrated to this country and I pour enormous amounts of capital, I pay enormous amounts of taxes. I want to be here, I want to help this team win."

Bill Gurley, general partner, Benchmark Capital

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On whether a Trump presidency would negatively impact the economy: "No, I don’t think so. It might cause things around the immigration issue, which people here care a lot about. If he really closed borders that could hurt the tech companies, but I don’t know that he could actually pull that off. But I’m not a political scientist. Like Mary [Meeker] said, I’m more skeptical that you could come in and just unilaterally [make changes]. Luckily, Nate Silver says it's an 89% chance it's Hillary. We may be three weeks ago from this all being behind us."

Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins

Mike Windle / Getty Images

"The government has checks and balances. If Donald Trump were to win, the Republicans would probably retain the House and they would probably retain the Senate." Regardless of who wins the election, "in government the most important thing we can ask for, as citizens, are checks and balances. And I think one person cannot run roughshod."

Steve Case, AOL co-founder and chair and CEO of Revolution LLC

Mike Windle / Getty Images

"I do understand what’s driving a lot of Trump support. There are a lot of people that are frustrated and scared and fearful and fell left out, got left behind by globalization, digitalization, and are really concerned about the future. They’re mad. I don’t think if you’re mad Trump is the answer, but how do we as a society create more of a sense of possibility? Create more of this opportunity? Not just in a place like Silicon Valley, [where] there’s a growing income inequality gap, but all across the country."

Lexi Reese, chief customer experience officer, Gusto

"One area that should have received main stage attention in this election is one where Hillary and Trump agree — and one that is the source of so much grievance in the country. That is around the the living wage. Right now, minimum wage is a poverty wage and the living wage should be more accurately called 'barely getting by.' Both Trump and Hillary agree we should raise the current minimum wage and I would have loved [for] them to share more broadly how impactful this change could be. If you can equitably take care of hard-working Americans, it gets to the root cause of so many socioeconomic symptoms related to poverty — the cost of social services, as one of many examples. If you are hard working and putting your talents to creative use, you should get paid fairly and when that happens the ripple effects on families and communities is significant."

Nitasha Tiku is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Nitasha Tiku at nitasha.tiku@buzzfeed.com.

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