Offering yet another reminder of just how far-removed the hysterical hyper-liberalism of San Francisco and the Bay Area is from the normal American political baseline, the CEO of Expensify, one of the world's largest providers of expense account software, recently emailed all 10 million users of the firms' software pleading with them to vote for Vice President Joe Biden.
According to Bloomberg, the idea elicited "strong debate" within the company, which is based in San Francisco, with some employees disagreeing with the gesture. But CEO David Barrett, the driving force behind the message, said he decided to press ahead and hit 'send'.
"We needed to stand true for what we believe in and hope that most people agree with us," Barrett said in an interview. "It’s not like we did this with a lot of enthusiasm. We did this out of a perceived necessity."
At one point in the email, Barrett wrote that "anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy," and that if President Trump were reelected, Barrett wrote, it would "damage our democracy to such an extent, I’m obligated on behalf of shareholders to take any action I can to avoid it."
Read the complete email below:
I admire @dbarrett's courage to state unequivocally what he believes in, even in spite of the inevitably polarizing effect such an email is likely to have.— Rick Klau (@rklau) October 22, 2020
And yes, I happen to agree with him. But if I was doing business with someone who felt this strongly in the favor of a candidate / position in opposition to me, I'd actually really like to know that too.— Rick Klau (@rklau) October 22, 2020
This interview @dbarrett did with @protocol reveals the process the company followed to engage all employees in the discussion ahead of making a statement. It's a fascinating look into a company leaning into the moment. Thoroughly impressed.https://t.co/8XstZGY4Dg— Rick Klau (@rklau) October 23, 2020
Barrett tried to justify the email by telling Bloomberg that a Trump victory could stoke civil unrest, which would in turn be "bad for business," because "not many expense reports get filed during a civil war."
Political activism in the workplace has become a major issue in Silicon Valley, particularly since the CEO of Coinbase offered employees a buyout if they disagreed with a new companywide rule discouraging any kind of heated political debate or activity within the office. Barrett said he was inspired to speak up by Armstrong's "cowardly" decision.
“All evil needs is for good people to stand aside,” Barrett said. “Not standing for anything means you’re standing for the status quo.”
Earlier this year, Expensify blacked out out its homepage in a show of support for BLM. Many customers backed the gesture, Barrett said, though others did threaten to take their business elsewhere. "Some people do leave," he said. "Most don’t."
While the latest display of Bay Area paternalism might have not have been aggravating enough to send customers elsewhere, we suspect more than a few Expensify users got a good chuckle out of Barrett's insistence that voting for anybody but his preferred candidate would contribute to the death of Democracy.