Meg Whitman's Clinton Endorsement: What It Says About IT Pros - InformationWeek

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Meg Whitman's Clinton Endorsement: What It Says About IT Pros

HPE CEO and Republican Meg Whitman recently announced she will vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a move that disrupts the status quo -- a personality trait common among IT professionals, says one tech recruiter.

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Disrupting the status quo is not a popular path for many individuals, but it is a common personality trait of tech professionals, says an IT recruiter.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman is the latest example of this.

Whitman, a high-profile Republican, announced Tuesday that she would cross party lines to back Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton rather than fellow Republican Donald Trump.

The Republican fund-raiser said she would not only give her support to Clinton but also make a substantial contribution to Clinton's campaign fund, according to a New York Times report. In an interview with the New York Times, Whitman said it was time for Republicans to cross party lines and "put country first before party."

(Image: HPE)

(Image: HPE)

The move by some may be considered fearless, but in the tech sector it more the norm than perhaps other industries such as the conservative banking or insurance industries.

"Disrupting the status quo is a built-in trait of technology professionals. They are expected, as a result of being in an ever-changing arena, to be able to shift directions quickly to meet demands and compete in the marketplace," John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, told InformationWeek.

He further added, "The most innovative leaders are known for shaking up the industry, stretching boundaries, and taking risks with the hopes of improving the way we interact with technology on a day-to-day basis. Companies like Apple, Google, and Tesla all forgo convention for the sake of making significant impacts in their fields."

Other recruiting executives have a more tempered view on the personality traits of IT professionals.

[See Non-Tech Skills IT Pros Need To Succeed.]

"Clearly there are tech executives who go against the grain (Meg, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick), but I have no basis to say that tech executives in general are more likely to do this than executives from other industries," said Jon Holman, founder of the executive recruiting firm The Holman Group.

Although Whitman is willing to cross party lines to vote for Clinton and even go to the extreme of campaigning for her, she is not willing to abandon the Republican party altogether, she told the New York Times.

"I don't agree with her on very many issues," Whitman told the New York Times, "but she would be a much better president than Donald Trump."

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

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Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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8/8/2016 | 1:34:54 PM
Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
Meg Whitman may be a former technology executive, a breed that periodically goes against the grain, but she has opted to enter the political arena. And I think she's functioning with eye toward the future in the latter, rather than displaying traits carried over from the former. She separated herself from the pack with her cross-over, showed she could think long range for herself and showed the spark of courage. In the shambles that is sure to follow this election, she will stand out as a leader.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
8/9/2016 | 6:45:54 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
I guess I fail to see how, even if you're a Republican, endorsing Hillary Clinton in this election makes you "stand out" in Silicon Valley.  That's about as bold a statement in the Bay Area as saying "AI holds a lot of promise!" or "Technology is good!"  Whoopty-doo, Meg.  You're a real maverick.

Name three Silicon Valley A-listers who are endorsing Donald Trump (or, for that matter, any candidate other than Clinton).  I'll spot you Peter Thiel, and Carly Fiorina doesn't count.


jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 10:06:06 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
She is a current tech executive, but one who has run for public office a time or two (most recently for Governor of California in 2010).
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 10:20:53 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
She ran a pretty terrible campaign for Governor. I'm not sure the GOP will really feel bad about her actions because while she has a lot of wealth, she has little credibility. In fact there was a point in her life where she did not vote for 28 years. That is half her life and most of her voting life.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 10:45:46 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
I was living out of state when she ran (I moved from California to Utah in 2004), so I don't know how good of a campaign she ran.  In any case, it's clear that the California Republican Party is in as much need of credible candidates as is the Utah Democratic Party, and in both cases, the activists seem to have little interest in recruiting them (orthodoxy has become vastly more important than electability in both states).
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 11:06:45 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
I do remember hearing about her campaign on the news and how bad it was run. She lost by over 10 points. While that is not really surprising in CA, Republicans do become governors every once in a while there. I live in NY and essentially there is no Republican party. There has to be an extraordinary candidate (like Guiliani or Bloomberg) to beat out the entrenched Democrats. So your point about electability is spot on.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 11:29:20 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
Actually, while Democrats are currently dominant in California, there have only been four Democratic governors there since the 19th Century: Culbert Olson (1939-1943); Edmund G. Brown, Sr. (1959-1967); Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (1975-1983, 2011-), and Gray Davis (1999-2003).  Californians have traditionally been ticket splitters, so while the California Republican Party may currently be down and out, this is likely to be a temporary phenomenon (but its fortunes probably won't improve as long as orthodoxy remains more important than winning).
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/10/2016 | 8:55:38 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
That's an interesting fact. In NY since the 19th century, the governors have been somewhat evenly split between the parties. However the Republicans that have been governors in my lifetime (Rockefeller and Pataki who were elected), tended to be pretty liberal. Rockefeller and the GOP establishment caused turmoil in the 64 election and Pataki to a certain extent did in this current one because the party nominees were outside the establishment. Malcolm Wilson was more conservative if i remember. Probably to balance out Rockefeller. But the state is dominated by NYC which is overwhelmingly Democrat. Republicans can win the state if they have a good message. 
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
8/11/2016 | 11:40:33 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
Politicians have to deal with the voters they have, not the ones they wish they had.  New York City is a huge part of New York, which Republican pols have to deal with.  They can wish it didn't exist, they can try to rally the rest of the state against it; or they can try to persuade NYC voters that their policies really are in everyone's interest, not just those of millionaires and upstaters.  It's really up to them.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 10:29:01 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
I don't know about that. She has been mostly GOP establishment in the last couple of elections. In 2016 she went with Chris Christie of all people so her denunciations of Trump are quite strange. She ran a poor campaign for governor in 2010 and lost big time to Jerry Brown. She did not vote for 28 years. Now she is bolting from the party to endorse the opposition. That might appeal to Romney and the Bush's, but I'm not sure how the rest of the GOP will like it. She's not a leader, more like an opportunist.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 11:11:01 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
Actually, Mr. Christie's endorsement of Mr. Trump struck me as strange, though not nearly as strange as Sarah Palin's.  But Republicans are scrambling to figure out what to do with a presidential nominee who has publicly repudiated much of what the party has stood for most of the last century (though his stance on foreign trade would have been well within the 19th and early 20th century Republican mainstream, which was firmly protectionist).

Democrats had to deal with a highly divisive nominee in the form of George McGovern in 1972 (and more than a few politicians and activists publicly defected to Nixon), but Mr. McGovern was an experienced politician (Trump isn't even an experienced activist), most of his stances were within the Democratic mainstream of the time, and party discipline has never been as important to Democrats as to Republicans (this is largely due to the origins of the two parties).  Even when Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign crashed and burned in 1964, few if any prominent Republicans publicly supported Lyndon Johnson.  Indeed, I don't think there has been this much public dissatisfaction among Republicans with their presidential nominee since William Howard Taft got the nod in 1912 (he remains the last major party candidate and the only incumbent to ever finish below second place in a US Presidential election since the 12th Amendment established the current procedure, first used in 1804).
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/10/2016 | 8:23:59 AM
Re: Meg Whitman was behaving like a politician -- and a good one
Christie and Trump know each other a long time. Both have similar types of shoot from the hip personalities so the endorsement did not suprise me. Plus i think Christie knows his time is up as governor in NJ and he wanted a job in the Administration should Trump win. While that obviously won't be the VP slot, he could be tapped for Attorney General. But Trump would have to win and i'm not so sure that will happen.

Much of Trumps' "policies" are sort of hybrid Democrat and Republican. He appeals to a wider range of Republicans not just the neo-cons or conservatives that infest the establishment of the GOP. I think it is good that he is shaking up the party because they keep trotting out the same old platform and many of the same candidates. Not that Clinton is a fresh face and she is really a rotten candidate. And not that Trump is a great candidate, he is too undisciplined. As nice as "plain talk" can be, there is a place in politics for discipline and using the right words because actions beyond ones control can take place. So we are in a bind.

But the establishment won't go down easy. I think they are still holding out for a palace coup before the election. I saw something last night about the GOP should kick Trump out and let "Pence and Cruz handle it." I think there might be a suprise on the Democrat side with some damning Wikileaks material coming out around October that might end Clinton's run.

So both parties will be dealing with frustrated members and possibly in uncharted waters. The Democrats have had more experience dealing with a divisive nominee and election, the Republicans have not. Should be interesting.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 1:00:28 AM
Better than the other guy...
Not really a ringing endorsement is it?  Doesn't that say something?
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 10:14:05 AM
Re: Better than the other guy...
Agreed. She is trying to position herself as a maverick but still trying to keep her connections to the GOP. I guess she feels emboldened because the Bushes and some other GOP establishment figures are not going along with Trump. I don't remember hearing much from her during the GOP primaries. She's just a sore loser like the other folks in the GOP. There's not much to commend for a person who chooses to abandon her party for the opposition. It says more about her failings than anything else.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2016 | 11:40:33 AM
Re: Better than the other guy...
I've always deemed party loyalty to be the least of all political virtues (if it's even a virtue at all).  In the end, elections and governing should be about the public interest, not factional interests; and political parties are nothing more than organized factions.  A citizen's civic loyalty should be to the country first, then to his local community (state, county, city, etc).; thus party loyalty should never rank higher than third.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
8/10/2016 | 7:32:38 AM
Re: Better than the other guy...
I find it saddening too. As you say party loyalty serves only those in the parties themselves. It speaks volumes for the cronyism in politics and shows that it's often more of a case of maintaining the status quo and keeping the old-boys club running than it is about actually introducing policy that can change the life of the average citizen.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/10/2016 | 9:01:36 AM
Re: Better than the other guy...
Completely agree. This is something that is playing out in the public right now. Nobody from the GOP establishment (Bush's, Romney for starters) looks good attacking Trump because they come across as party hacks interested in keeping power and interests to themselves and not the people. Trump seems to appeal to the people. He connects with them in a way Romney certainly could not. Sanders connected too on the other side only the establishment candidate won thanks to heavy handed DNC tactics that did not work on the GOP side.

Trump will always have his base, regardless of his gaffes (or media hype of anything he says). But Clinton's support is different and its unknown who the Sanders voters will support in the general election.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
8/10/2016 | 1:19:32 PM
Re: Better than the other guy...

Are we supposed to like Meg Wittman now ?   The only thing I can take from this is that when she sees something completely ridiculous, she understands it is completely ridiculous.  Great.

We had to start somewhere.   And if she thinks the next time she runs for office in California, that democrats will follow suite, think again.  In the meantime, let the rest of your republican croonies know they should follow your lead.  

But I am sure they already know that.

Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
8/9/2016 | 6:40:16 AM
Not an endorsement...
This is not an endorsement or denouncement of any candidate.  Just pointing out: Party lines or not, in what dictionary is voting for the legacy Washington insider who is a member of the incumbent party over the political outsider from a non-incumbent party a "disrupt[ion]" of status quo???

If she prefers Hillary to Donald (which is hardly a controversial position, even -- nay, especially -- among high-profile Republicans), she can say so without making any high-falutin' attempts to pass off the endorsement as one of nobility and Silicon Valley savvy.

If she really wants to be disruptive with her vote, why not Gary Johnson, or Jill Stein, or (if she REALLY wants to be "disruptive") Vermin Supreme?

tl;dr: 'tever.
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