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    How presidential candidates are talking about tech on the campaign trail

    enSeptember 19, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Tech issues in 2024 campaign trail: National security and free speechCandidates are addressing tech issues through national security and free speech lenses, emphasizing protection from foreign adversaries and censorship concerns respectively.

      Technology issues are becoming a significant focus in the 2024 campaign trail, even if they're not always explicitly stated on candidates' websites. According to Dave Weigel, politics reporter for Semaphore, there are two main ways candidates are addressing tech-related topics: through a national security lens and a free speech lens. On the national security side, candidates are emphasizing the need to protect American tech from foreign adversaries like China, and some are considering banning or limiting apps like TikTok as part of this effort. On the free speech side, candidates are expressing concern about tech companies censoring people and are promising to take action against this. Vivek Ramaswamy, a candidate with some Silicon Valley experience, has even used the term "digital Fentanyl" to describe the issue. Overall, while tech might not seem like a top priority based on candidates' websites, it's an important issue that's being discussed in more specific and nuanced ways as the election approaches.

    • Politicians Concerned about CCP's Control over Social MediaPoliticians advocate for 'digital rights' to protect individuals from censorship by tech companies, addressing concerns over perceived instances of censorship and unchecked power to manipulate public discourse.

      The Chinese Communist Party's control over TikTok and other social media platforms is a concern for some politicians, particularly on the Republican side in the United States. They argue that these companies are censoring content and promoting harmful ideologies, intentionally weakening America from within. In response, former President Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have advocated for a "digital rights" approach, which would protect individuals from censorship by tech companies. This has gained momentum due to perceived instances of censorship during the 2020 election, such as the handling of the Hunter Biden laptop story and the enforcement of gender identity policies. The ultimate goal is to ensure that tech companies do not have unchecked power to suppress free speech and manipulate public discourse.

    • Republican Candidates Debate Digital Free Speech and Tech RegulationRepublican candidates, led by DeSantis and Trump, advocate for more conservative speech online and restricting access to harmful content. Elon Musk's departure from Twitter's old policy is a factor. Democrats, including President Biden, focus more on tech investments to compete with China.

      The debate over digital free speech and tech regulation is a hot topic among Republican candidates, with DeSantis and Trump leading the charge. They argue for more conservative speech online and restricting access to content they believe is harmful. Elon Musk's departure from Twitter's old protected categories policy is another factor fueling this debate. On the Democratic side, President Biden has focused more on making the U.S. more competitive with China through tech investments, rather than vocalizing his administration's approach to tech regulation. Notable Republicans like Mike Pence share similar concerns and have advocated for restricting apps like TikTok. However, there's not much disagreement among Republicans on the issue, just differences in promised actions.

    • Republican Candidates' Stances on Tech Companies vs. DemocratsWhile some GOP candidates have raised concerns about tech companies, it's not a major focus in their campaigns. In contrast, Dems have candidates like RFK Jr. and Williamson who prioritize tech issues.

      While some Republican presidential candidates, such as Vivek Ramaswamy, have expressed concerns about tech companies and potential threats they pose, particularly regarding platforms like TikTok, it's not a major focus of their campaign narratives. Meanwhile, in the Democratic party, challenges to President Biden include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is known for his stance against Internet censorship, and Marianne Williamson, who emphasizes investing in energy tech as part of her progressive platform. In the world of kids' podcasts, Marketplace's Million Bazillion offers explanations for complex financial concepts, making money topics more accessible and understandable for young listeners.

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