Some prominent Republicans are mulling the possibility — however remote — of supporting a third-party candidate. Others say they'll vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should she emerge as the Democratic Party's nominee. A number are likely to remain on the sidelines, neither openly endorsing a candidate nor donating money to a campaign.
"I will probably sit out this election," said one California Republican operative with ties to the tech industry who contributed to the #NeverTrump effort. "It reminds me of the [Barry] Goldwater candidacy in '64. And unless Trump changes drastically how he runs his campaign, there will be a lot of people who do the same thing."
If campaign contributions offer one measure of popularity, Trump lags virtually every other presidential candidate this election cycle in tech sector contributions. He brought in just $19,000, compared with over $7 million raised for Democratic candidates, according to the nonpartisan political crowdfunding site Crowdpac's analysis of Federal Election Commission filings.
"Donald Trump seems to have built a wall between himself and Silicon Valley," said Crowdpac Political Director Mason Harrison, who worked on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign. "Trump's rhetoric on immigration, women, encryption and a host of other issues is at odds with many within the Silicon Valley donor community, who will likely continue to open up their wallets for the Democrat they believe is best positioned to beat him in November."
"People here do care about having a core belief and a compass to guide you," said one former senior adviser to Republican presidential campaigns who is now working in Silicon Valley. "[Trump] so completely lacks that, I don't see the people I know who work in tech and live in the Bay Area, who are part of the Silicon Valley conservative elite group — I just don't see it happening."