Nothing says realism in politics like the CEO of a multi-million dollar software company telling the peons who they should let make their decisions for the next four years or face a potential bloody backlash.
Such was the scene at the inboxes of around 10 million customers of Expensify, as they read an email from company CEO David Barrett, who encouraged customers last Thursday to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden or face “civil war” under President Trump.
“We are facing an unprecedented attack on the foundations of democracy itself. If you are a US citizen, anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy,” Barrett wrote. “That’s right, I’m saying a vote for Trump, a vote for a third-party candidate, or simply not voting at all – they’re all the same.”
According to The Daily Wire, Barrett’s email found some pretty harsh critics, many of whom accused the leader of the software company of abusing his email list to help support the Democrat nominee for president. According to the Daily Wire’s assessment, Barrett “alienated many of his company’s customer base by asserting that any vote not cast for Biden is ‘a vote against democracy.’”
Barrett’s most aggressive assertion, that of “civil war” seems to be predicated on a rather tenuous grasp on how human nature is likely to respond to the upcoming pressures of a divided nation. Nevertheless, he persisted:
“Expensify depends on a functioning society and economy; not many expense reports get filed during a civil war,” Barrett’s email read. “As CEO of this business, it’s my job to plot a course through any storm – and all evidence suggests that another 4 (or as Trump has hinted – 8, or more?) years of Trump leadership will damage our democracy to such an extent, I’m obligated on behalf of shareholders to take any action I can to avoid it. I am confident our democracy (and Expensify) can survive a Biden presidency. I can’t say the same about Trump. It’s truly as simple as that.”
Barrett, who is not a United States citizen, as he noted in his email, made some other strong claims, including that President Donald Trump might attempt to steal the election, even if he didn’t have the votes to win, and that the current president is guilty of voter fraud among other accusations.
He also likened his company to the United States, talking about the internal policy that allows their employees to “vote” on various issues, how advancement is done, and that they “campaign” internally to decide on changes. That begs the question; was the decision to send that email a part of a Democratic process?
According to the Daily Wire, there was widespread outrage over the email, including from Daniel Rothschild, the executive director of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center
Rothschild wrote a lengthy response to Barrett in the form of an open letter, accusing the CEO of breaking the trust of his customers by putting out a company email that not only broke with the topic of his company but added to the political polarization in society today.
“I also have strong feelings about another matter of public interest: the politicization of everything. A healthy society cannot exist if its political tribalism invades every aspect of commercial, civic, and community life,” Rothschild said in an his letter to Barrett. “Team Red and Team Blue have gone from being who we vote for to, in many cases, lifestyle determinants. That is unhealthy to our civic fabric.”
Regardless of their intention, or the cooperation of the employees that will no doubt suffer the consequences of Barrett’s actions, at least one CEO, Carlos Domingo responded saying that the email as “total spam” and said he was looking for other “options” to use instead of the software.
Let us hope for Barrett’s sake that he sufficiently polled his workers before jeopardizing their jobs the way he did.