Zynga founder Mark Pincus and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman have announced an ambitious-sounding new political venture aimed at reinvigorating the Democratic party. Announced today, on the 4th of July, the initiative is already getting some heat.
The project is known as Win The Future, and it’s abbreviated as WTF. It’s described as the “first people’s lobby where the members set the agenda.” At its start, the organization aims to have a spirit that is “pro-social, pro-planet, and pro-business.”
“Our objective is to help millions of Americans organize around a common platform,” reads a line from WTF’s website. “Our goal is to aggregate our voices and money around the issues that we want to top our government’s agenda. We want to turn that agenda into electoral wins and an overall mandate for our country.”
What does the group do? Members can submit their own proposals, and if there is enough support, these ideas will “become part of WTF’s political DNA,” according to Recode. Proposals will apparently be decided on by likes and retweets on Twitter. WTF itself will raise money to launch real-world billboard ads for popular proposals near airports in Washington, D.C., so that politicians have a greater chance of seeing them.
Another element of WTF is to actually find candidates to run as “WTF Democrats.” Pincus told Recode that he is looking at Third Eye Blind singer Stephan Jenkins as a potential candidate, and the two have met recently. Jenkins has been critical of the Republican Party for a long time now, so bringing him in seems to make some sense.
Pincus and Hoffman have given $500,000 to WTF, while former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg is involved in the project as well, along some venture capitalists. Pincus himself has donated $2.5 million over the years to political campaigns.
“If you look at the ethos of Silicon Valley and look at the ethos of our companies … it’s not about me, it’s not about Reid, it’s about us getting out of the way,” he said. “My only agenda is, I would like to see mainstream America more empowered to set an agenda.”
WTF is not going over well with everyone. Jeff Hauser, who works for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told Huffington Post that that billionaires like Pincus and Hoffman have “very, very poor instincts for politics.”
Pincus stepped down as Zynga CEO in March 2016. The social game developer is perhaps best known for the mobile game FarmVille. Social Security Works executive director Alex Lawson told HuffingtonPost that Pincus and Hoffman, given their backgrounds, are not the best-suited to launch a political movement like WTF.
“I am not sure the creators of the lamest and the most annoying social media experiences are the exact people who should be rewiring the philosophical core of the Democratic Party as they say they want to,” he explained.