When it overtook its social media rival, MySpace, even then few could have predicted that Facebook would grow into the big tech behemoth that it is today.
Moreover, who would have thought that a geeky billionaire named Mark Zuckerberg would become powerful enough to literally decide the outcome of presidential elections?
And yet, that’s what he did last fall.
Zuckerberg donated more than $400 million in “election grants” to counties mostly in key battleground states where D.C. establishment lawyers, PACs, lobbyists and operatives from both sides of the aisle stole Donald Trump’s shoo-in reelection.
Trump was sure to have some difficulties, we believed, because Democratic mayors and governors helped destroy his massively successful economy and blamed a Chinese-borne virus on him. But given the massive outpouring of support everywhere the former president went — and places he didn’t go that still saw massive Trump vehicle and boat parades — his reelection looked certain.
Biden, by comparison, along with his VP pick Kamala Harris, couldn’t draw flies to a BS contest. Virtually no one came out to see them at the limited rallies they did. Harris was so unimpressive to Democratic voters she was one of the first to drop out of the crowded Democratic presidential field. And Biden stayed in his basement for much of the campaign, limiting his exposure to gaffes, forgetful moments and times when he clearly couldn’t think straight or enunciate clearly.
So Zuckerberg stepped up and helped fund the effort to take away Trump’s sure-fire reelection victory by pouring hundreds of millions into the effort, and nowhere was his election interference more prevalent than in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
Grant monies awarded to help fund the 2020 election in at least 21 different Pennsylvania counties were heavily skewed toward counties with high Democratic registration and recent voting turnout, an analysis from Broad + Liberty shows.
Pennsylvania Republicans are currently considering legislation that would change the rules for private grants such as these in future elections, requiring them to go directly to the Pa. Department of State to be distributed evenly. Similar bills have been passed in Georgia and Arizona and are being considered in other states.
The money was funneled through the nonprofit Center for Tech and Civic Life, which was founded in 2015. The org drew a lot of attention in the lead-up to the 2020 election when Zuckerberg and his wife Pricilla Chan gave it $250 million. A month later, the power tech couple added another $100 million; about $22 million of that money found its way to 21 Pennsylvania counties.
Republicans in the state smelled a rat right off the bat. They saw what was happening: The Zuckerberg-funded nonprofit was purchasing election infrastructure that would be used to drive Democratic voter turnout in a state nearly all political observers agreed would be vital to put in the Electoral College “win” column.
State GOP Rep. Jim Struzzi, who is a sponsor of the new legislation, noted that the actions undertaken by the CTCL are likely a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protections clause because “all eligible voters must be given equal access to their right to vote.” He said giving some counties grants while denying it to others is inherently unfair.
Democrats and at least one state judge disagreed, pointing to a CTCL grant to some counties that went for Trump by a 2-to-1 margin. But that is window dressing to make the grants look ‘bipartisan’ when far more money went to Democrat-heavy jurisdictions.
“We must put a stop to private money election grants to cities and counties,” said state Republican Rep. Eric Nelson. “Big tech significantly outspent government in selective areas resulting in a dangerous precedent for all future elections. I fought this before the election and will continue to battle tactics that result in the unequal treatment of voters.”
How about adding this: Zuckerberg should be arrested for election meddling.