Michael Bloomberg may feel that his recent hints at a 2016 run for the White House have barely registered in a presidential year dominated by big characters and unexpected twists.
After the initial stir caused by news the former New York mayor was considering entering the 2016 race as a centrist, independent candidate, he has quickly receded to the shadows, barely discussed by either Democratic or Republican candidates.
Yet there is one corner of the US still holding out for a Bloomberg candidacy: Silicon Valley.
The tech industry sees the billionaire entrepreneur, who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal, as one of its own.
Or as Twitter’s chief financial officer Anthony Noto recently put it: “Wow!! Please Please @MikeBloomberg”.
In part, Bloomberg’s popularity in the tech sector stems from the absence of any other candidates that so closely resemble the values that underpin the industry.
Libertarian Kentucky senator Rand Paul, who aggressively courted Silicon Valley with mixed results and may have been the most naturally suited to anti-government techies, dropped out of the Republican race after a disappointing showing in Iowa.
“The other candidates are just so weak and weird,” said bombastic Uber investor Jason Calacanis, who often wades into conservative politics through his various media platforms.
“In Silicon Valley, everybody loves somebody who’s an operator,” Calacanis added. “Bloomberg’s an operator. You just look on Twitter people are like yes, yes, yes, Bloomberg please, please, please.”
Texan senator Ted Cruz and Florida senator Marco Rubio are too socially conservative to be palatable for people who just want the financial side of Republicanism without the aversion to social progress.
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders may enjoy a constituency among some radicals in Silicon Valley – and the self-avowed socialist is now outpacing Clinton in fundraising among employees at the five largest tech companies.
But, given his stringent views on inequality and his repeated denunciation of the “millionaires and billionaires” of the country, it is hard to see Sanders getting that much traction in a place with such a concentration of eye-popping wealth.
It is unsurprising, then, that there appears to be such enthusiasm for a Bloomberg presidential run.
Erick Schonfeld, the co-founder of TouchCast and former editor in chief of TechCrunch, cites Bloomberg’s work to bring a tech campus to New York as one of the reasons technologists can get behind him.
Bloomberg’s fortune was made in tech, selling stock market data analytics through his Bloomberg terminals.
“He’s an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur,” Shonfeld said. “He invented the SaaS business model. That’s how he made his billions.”
He added: “Literally I’m here at the Nob Hill Center and there’s hundreds of companies here that are all trying to sell subscriptions and most of them for data services, and he [Bloomberg] invented this.”
Garrett Johnson, the co-founder of conservative think tank Lincoln Labs and the startup SendHub, said many in the tech community have been shocked by the way candidates approach the internet, especially when it comes to national security issues.
“The guy who won the New Hampshire primary for the Republicans has openly threatened to shut down the internet to fight Isis,” Johnson said, referring to Trump. “How do you propose to shut down the internet?”
Johnson questions, though, whether Silicon Valley can actually hold political sway, despite all its talk – and its growing reputation as a source for big money donations to both parties.
“It’s easy to tweet something but how many of them are on the ground helping to organize or donating to Bloomberg?” Johnson said. “Talk is cheap.”
He added: “The question is, so what? Who gives a damn about Silicon Valley?”
This article was written by Nellie Bowles, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 16th February 2016 13.11 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010