Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

For months, a threat to big tech has been building from the top, with numerous senators and congressmen proposing to regulate or give anti-trust scrutiny to Google, Facebook and Amazon. But now figures of both major parties say the unhappiness with the companies is also bubbling up from the bottom. The threat is dual, we are told: against the companies and the Washington establishment:

Why it matters: This bottom-up discontent is nascent, and polls show that big tech retains high public popularity. It is too early to say what shape the disgruntlement will assume, if and when it becomes more broadly visible.

But to the degree that it takes hold and grows, it suggests a potential replay of last November's rust belt exasperation with the status quo — when the establishment of both parties, in addition to corporate America, were blindsided by a shakeup to the U.S. political order.

What we're hearing:

From the Trump base, Steve Bannon is railing against the "Lords of Silicon Valley," and advocating the regulation of the big tech companies as public utilities. The appeal resonates with rank-and-file Republicans, who broadly believe that Facebook and Google "have it out for them," a Bannon ally tells Axios. "They feel Facebook is weaponized against conservatives."

  • A lagging indicator: Among ordinary conservatives, the issue is percolating, and, like the uprising against globalization last year, is not yet fully absorbed by elected officials. "It will be a political issue on the right whether it's two, four or six years from now," the Bannon ally said.
  • Bannon is stirring the pot: "Steve looks at Silicon Valley and says, 'Today, corporate power is centered there,'" the ally said. "He is saying that these are the guys running our lives, keeping our data, our content, and our communications." And let's not forget: during last year's election, Donald Trump said Amazon deserved anti-trust scrutiny.
  • The bottom line: For conservatives, "Silicon Valley is the new Wall Street," he said.

Among Democrats: Tom Perriello, a former congressman from Virginia, warns of a tech-fueled groundswell against the political establishment. Voters are unconvinced, he said, that the technological trends of automation and Amazonization — the shift of retail shopping online — will "benefit the many."

  • The lessons of globalization: "There is a deep belief that the elites of both parties blew it on globalization," Perriello said. "They underestimated the downside risk, and overestimated the upside gain. There is a feeling that the elites have never learned that lesson."
  • This is not a blue-red issue: At least in Virginia, the dual issues of automation and Amazonization resonate most fully with two groups — rural Trump supporters, and black urban Democrats. "These issues don't necessarily get raised unprompted," Perriello said of town halls he convenes. "But when you raise them, the whole room lights up."
  • Tech companies are on the line with Democrats, too:
  • A key issue is well-paying jobs: Ro Khanna, a Democratic congressman who represents a Silicon Valley district and has been a consistent critic of Amazon, said tech companies need to ensure that jobs go equally "to people in Youngstown and in Sunnyvale." The biggest challenge, he tells Axios, is "jobs of the future."
  • The bottom line: No one will challenge technological advance per se, but voters are vocal about the pace and shape of how it unfolds. "People just don't trust that the elites will get these downside concerns right," Perriello said.

The problem is starting to register in surveys: Tech companies enjoy high global trust, according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, a much-watched gauge of public sentiment conducted by Edelman, the public relations firm. Combined, 75% of the public in the U.S., China, Germany, Japan and the U.K. trust tech companies, Edelman said, making it the most trusted sector in business.

  • But Edelman raised a red flag: Since the financial crash, trust in the banking industry has risen by 11 points, and energy has gained by 9 points. But tech's trust level has remained flat. "The tech sector must continue to replenish its trust bank to maintain its historic leadership position," Edelman said.

Go deeper: The companies face a more immediate regulatory threat in Europe.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!