As the GOP race gathers steam, candidates’ histories are increasingly being scrutinized. For frontrunner Mitt Romney, who won both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary, this has meant discussion and criticism of his big business history at Bain Capital.
In an era of anti-corporate sentiment vocalized by the Occupy Movement, it is hardly surprising that Romney has had to defend his big business history. However, what is surprising is that when it comes to candidates, most from non-political backgrounds come from very similar corporate, big business backgrounds: from Romney to Godfather's Pizza’s Herman Cain.
But in an entrepreneurial nation, where is the Silicon Valley candidate?
A candidate with previous experience working for a start-up would undoubtedly be more representative of the people than the corporate candidates have been. This is true in part because of the fact that the Silicon Valley embodies the undeniable appeal of the American Dream. Equally important, however, are the numbers: Small businesses (start-ups among them) represent 99% of all employer firms in the United States. So, a small business, start-up candidate would, quite literally, be representative of the 99%.
Further, as our nation continues to struggle through an economic slump and unemployment remains widespread, it has become increasingly clear that we need to be able to compete on a global stage and reclaim our status as the forward-thinking, innovator-nation. So why aren’t America’s innovators getting involved in our political leadership?
In these tough economic times, we need leaders who understand the struggles of the people – instead of declaring they like to fire people, like Romney recently did. It’s about more than just having a compassionate leader, however – research shows that start-ups are actually vital to the health of the economy – they create jobs.
While Romney’s gaffes clearly aren’t representative of all of corporate America and the entrepreneurial candidate would not inevitably be the anti-Romney, establishing a start-up is perhaps better preparation for national office than we, as a nation, realize – perhaps even better than corporate management experience.
While many candidates have acted in the best interests of start-ups and small businesses alike, in an age where everyone seems to be trying to start the next Facebook from their dorm room, the question remains – why are we still waiting for our first Silicon Valley candidate?
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons