Mark Zuckerberg is a presenter at the 2014 Breakthrough Prizes Awarded in Fundamental Physics and Life Sciences Ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in this photo from 2013. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for MerchantCantos)
A photo of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor with his arm around Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg may have cost Cantor the Republican primary, according to reports.
Just two weeks before the primary, Cantor's Tea Party opponent Dave Brat (and now winner of the primary race) released an ad showing the photo with the following, "There are 20 million Americans who can’t find a full-time job. But Eric Cantor wants to give corporations another 20 million foreign workers to hire instead," according to Salon.com.
Zuckerberg, who has been lobbying Congress for immigration reform
, was an easy target to find, and one that would resonate with the tougher immigration law rhetoric spouted by right-wingers. It was apparently a winner. From the comments at the Tea Party site
Zuckerberg is a phony sell out who only wants cheap labor.
The kind of money these people have can negate millions of your votes and buy Washington. This is no longer a democracy-its a money game, and these people know it.
Zuckerberg is an idiot and a betrayer to all us LEGAL BORN AND LEGAL IMMIGRANTS!
The interesting part of the piece is that the 2011 photo was cropped, so it didn't show other Republicans like Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, Calif., and presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, Wis., as well as Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. The photo also predated Zuckerberg's immigration reform and his lobbying group FWD.us., so Cantor's fraternizing wasn't even about immigration at all.
But to voters who may have seen the photograph, they saw Cantor as kowtowing to the liberal tech elite and selling out conservatives by appearing to favor immigration reform. What's interesting to us is that now Zuckerberg is seen as a liberal leader able to kill campaigns in a single meeting.