Progressive Tech Billionaires Form New Website to Take on Democratic Party

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After Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election, many diehard Democrats began looking for answers. For many, the answer seemed to be hold the course or stick it out. For others, including the founders of a new political party, the answer had nothing to do with the Democratic Party at all.

That’s how the Win the Future Party was conceived. Back in January, Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga, attended a Democratic convention meant to assess the damage. While those organizing the conference wanted a pledge of allegiance (and another fat donation to the failing party), Pincus wasn’t buying it.

“The whole energy of that conference was disheartening, and I wouldn’t say discouraging, but it just reconfirmed to me that we better do something different,” Pincus told Business Insider.

So Pincus came away with the desire to see something new. He wanted a platform that was both pro-business and pro-planet. And the new party was officially launched on July 4th.

The group is launching a billboard campaign, too, announcing Win the Future’s message.

“What I really want to build is something that is very much like Product Hunt, whether it’s on their website or the app or the emails they’ll send you,” Pincus said. “They have a mechanism to both give people a way to — in real time — vote up products they think are cool, and they want other people to pay attention to.”

And Pincus isn’t alone. Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, invested $500,000. Jeffrey Katzenberg, Fred Wilson, Sunil Paul… the list of venture capitalists is continuing to grow.

“I just don’t feel respected in the political process as a large donor or as a citizen voter,” Pincus said. “I just feel patronized. Everything I get is like, ‘Hey, you couldn’t possibly — it’s too complex and sophisticated what really goes on,’ and, ‘Hey, leave it to us, and we will go and represent you and fight the good fight, and just give us money.'”

“Now I have something else to talk about when the next candidate comes and asks me for money,” Pincus said. “I can say, ‘Are you going to be a WTF Democrat? Are you going to publicly endorse this agenda? Because if you are, I’m happy to talk.’ I’m not just going to accept that any Democrat winning is a win.

“We’re not just trying to be an arm of the Democratic Party. We’re trying to say that the Democratic Party needs to change if it wants our votes and our money and our time.”

It is this emphasis that seems to show the first failings of the WTF party. Are they a party? Are they a philosophical identity of the Democratic party? And doesn’t the WTF name seem a bit childish?

Recode’s Kara Swisher thinks so. It would be difficult to take a WTF candidate seriously.

Yet WTF is off-the-ground, so to speak. They are a thing. And as their platform develops they may very well branch farther away from the Democrats. Just how that happens remains to be seen.

“We can’t just start up and be like, ‘Hi, we’re a new party, and we’re going to run all these people for office,'” Pincus said. “I think we need to introduce people to the idea that we need to get people engaged in small ways that have visible impact and feedback loops, and then iterate.”

“They should all be competing to prove to us that they are giving us voice and choice, that they are the true representatives of us. And so far, I, unfortunately, have no competition.”