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MAGA hat wearers use tech software too: Morning Brief

This is The Takeaway from today's Morning Brief, which you can sign up to receive in your inbox every morning along with:

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I come to you today from a hotel room at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in France, readying to drop a ton of on-air, investor-friendly content for Yahoo Finance this week alongside esteemed colleague Rachelle Akuffo.

We'll be catching up with companies in attendance, including Spotify (SPOT), Pinterest (PINS), Meta (META), and Google (GOOG).

Keep up with the action from Yahoo Finance here.

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Now, while I am on the topic of tech meets beach and loud music...

There have been lots headlines the past several weeks on Silicon Valley increasingly tossing support to former President Donald Trump (which has upset many on the left).

Noted tech entrepreneur David Sacks threw a fundraiser for Trump in San Francisco earlier this month that reportedly netted millions for his presidential campaign.

Before that, on May 30, Sequoia Capital partner Shaun Maguire uncorked a lengthy post on X, voicing support for Trump.

"I just donated $300k to Trump. I’m prepared to lose friends. Here’s why. Back in 2016 I had drunk the media Kool-Aid and was scared out of my mind about Trump. As such I donated to Hilary Clinton’s campaign and voted for her. By 2020 I was disillusioned and didn’t vote — I didn’t like either option. Now, in 2024, I believe this is one of the most important elections of my lifetime, and I’m supporting Trump," Maguire wrote.

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk — who has increasingly warmed up to Trump — responded to the post by saying, "I think you are right."

Somewhat of an interesting reply, considering the Biden administration has bent over backward to turbocharge the EV industry — of which Musk and Tesla are still viewed as the leaders.

At first glance, Silicon Valley elites' public support of Trump after his latest bout of legal troubles seems surprising.

Joe Biden won California in the 2020 presidential election by about 30 points. This marked the fourth consecutive election that the Democratic nominee has surpassed 60% of the votes in the state.

Next, the Biden administration has doubled down on investing in semiconductor manufacturing in the US. That has lifted sentiment on the tech industry's future and arguably added another layer of bullishness to its stocks.

And last but not least, the stock market continues to hit records under Biden. Meaning: The wealthy in Silicon Valley have become even wealthier!

But when it's all said and done, maybe this Trump back-slapping shouldn't surprise anyone.

These are forward thinkers thinking forward, considering how to protect their immense wealth (and it is, in fact, immense, as this new data from San Jose State University shows), their businesses, and their investments.

A lot of them foresee tougher regulation under a Democratic president, especially as AI speeds ahead and puts jobs at risk.

It's not my position to say if they are wrong or right; I just want to share how some of these folks I chat up are thinking right now.

Take the level-headed veteran tech entrepreneur Max Levchin, CEO of Affirm (AFRM), who came to the US from Ukraine as a teenager.

He has long stayed out of making public statements on politics but did bring up a fair point in the Opening Bid podcast this week (listen here) that may reflect the sentiment of many in the Valley.

"I pride myself in staying out of politics for pretty good reasons. I think one of the things that I learned pretty early on in Affirm is what we have appeals to both sides of the aisle," Levchin said. "San Francisco leans left of left, left of center — and yet you're building products that are going to get used by someone in a MAGA hat."

Levchin adds he will never host political fundraisers at his home.

Expect others in the Valley to, however, as it appears to be a good wealth-protecting business tactic.

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Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance's Executive Editor. He is also the host of the "Opening Bid" podcast. Follow Sozzi on Twitter/X @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on deals, mergers, activist situations, or anything else? Email brian.sozzi@yahoofinance.com. Are you a CEO and want to come on Yahoo Finance Live? Email Brian Sozzi.

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