Today we bring you a special edition of Login — our Tech Guide to the Midterms.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The midterm elections are consequential for many, many reasons. But, in addition to all the other issues on the ballot, voters on Tuesday will be choosing the lawmakers who will try to hammer out privacy rules for major tech players like Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Why it matters: California’s recently-passed privacy law goes into effect in 2020, and the European Union has already started to enforce its General Data Protection Regulation. Leading firms like Apple and Facebook are begging Congress to set rules now that are nationwide and, they hope, friendlier to the industry, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Driving the news: Democrats are poised to take the House majority — and want strict privacy controls.
Even if they don't take the Senate, Democrats there are also expected to push for stricter rules.
The big picture: Key Republicans support some sort of federal privacy law but have made it clear they worry about encroaching too strongly on industry.
“There is a real opportunity to do something bipartisan here, and it means everybody's going to have to, at some point, lay down their partisan markers and work on a bill,” Schatz said earlier this year.
The bottom line: Lots of things can — and do — change after elections. But for the first time, lawmakers have Silicon Valley asking for federal regulation and a hard deadline in California’s rules. Privacy advocates hope that will be a potent combination, and Democrats taking the House could shake things up further.
Go deeper: Read David's full story.
Techies have lent their expertise, time and money to campaigns in advance of election day, David writes.
Why it matters: Many in Silicon Valley were particularly dismayed by President Trump's victory in 2016 and several high-profile players have worked to support a potential “blue wave.”
Read more from David here.
Tech’s campaign contributions skew further to the left than the rest of the Fortune 500, per a new analysis by Axios’ Harry Stevens.
The big picture, per Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP): “Certain industries lean right or left, but major corporations generally hedge their bets — favoring the party in power, but delivering hefty sums to both sides — and on that score, 2018 is no different.” (CRP is the watchdog group that maintains the OpenSecrets database Stevens used.)
Go deeper: This broader, interactive analysis goes beyond tech.
A boom in new technologies, like digital TV ads, peer-to-peer texting, digital billboards and more, has made it easier for political campaigns to reach voters anywhere, at any time, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
Why it matters: Newer, cheaper options to reach voters have made it easier to reach people, but harder to make a message stand out.
Yes, but: The barrage of new ad products and messaging tools means it's harder than ever to truly capture a voter's attention, which is why many campaigns are still utilizing traditional television ads, email and regular mail to reach voters.
The big picture: These new technologies are lowering the barrier to entry for many new candidates who may have less money but want to take on more established and well-funded competition.
Go deeper: Read Sara's full story.
Cybersecurity is a growing problem in the U.S., both as a domestic and international issue. But, because it's not an issue that brings people to the ballot box, even candidates who care about the issue can't really campaign on it, Axios Joe Uchill reports.
What we're watching: Here's how two House candidates with cybersecurity backgrounds, one Democrat and one Republican, are handling the issue.
1. Tracy Mitrano, Democratic candidate for New York's 23rd Congressional District, says she's very concerned about cybersecurity.
2. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) is running for re-election in San Antonio, which is a hub for the burgeoning cybersecurity industry. He says he’s been asked once or twice at each town hall about cybersecurity.
The bottom line: Both Hurd and Mitrano believe Congress lacks cybersecurity expertise. Neither think it's an issue someone can run on.
Read more of Joe's full story.
These days, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is among those leading the charge to police Big Tech. But in 2006, he was the first politician to publicly appear in Second Life. You can watch the video here.