The Political Activism And Influence of Bill Gates

A history of what he's done, and where he's going.
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: American businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates makes a speech at the Malaria Summit at 8 Northumberland Avenue on April 18, 2018 in London, England. The Malaria Summit is being held today to urge Commonwealth leaders to commit to halve cases of malaria across the Commonwealth within the next five years with a target to 650,000 lives.
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Bill Gates is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest men in the world. However, with his recent book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” advocating for the use of entirely synthetic beef, Gates has become an increasingly influential force in a new realm: politics.

Notably, 88.8% of his individual contributions to Political Action Committees (PACs) or directly to political candidates were made in the fall of 2020. While his donations were made to both sides of the aisle, the sudden spike in his political activity has sparked some added interest. In order to understand the development of the Gates we know today, it’s important to take a step back.

In 2000, Bill and his wife founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The original goal of the foundation was to provide funding for poorer communities and provide scholarships for students. Since then, it has evolved into a philanthropic organization that helps impoverished countries dealing with educational, environmental, and humanitarian issues.

Over the years, the BMGF has received endowments from many prominent entrepreneurs, such as its third trustee Warren Buffet, and is now reported to be the largest private charitable foundation in the world. 

Undoubtedly, the organization has donated to admirable causes and provided countless impoverished individuals with valuable opportunities. However, the charity has been also been an agent advocating for centralized and universal reforms, which detractors view as having caused more harm than good.

When it comes to education, Gates was at the forefront of efforts regarding “Common Core” during the Obama administration. The Common Core was an initiative designed to standardize language, arts, and mathematics courses for K-12 students around the nation. While it has been implemented in all but nine states, it has proven to be a colossal failure. As the Federalist reported, “The class of 2019, the first to experience all four high school years under the Common Core, is the worst-prepared for college in 15 years.” Gates himself even admitted that the results were not what he wanted them to be, saying not enough action was taken. 

More recently, The Washington Free Beacon reported that the Gates Foundation has donated more than $140 million to organizations promoting “anti-racist” math education, such as “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction.” This organization makes multiple controversial and unsubstantiated claims, with one being that the act of focusing on obtaining the correct answer is an example of white supremacy. Nevertheless, the BMGF are explicitly thanked for their “generous financial support” on the company’s website.

With the mission of the foundation clearly aligning with liberal or left-leaning ideology, the personnel emulate these same values. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 81.4% of all donations from affiliates of the BMGF were to Democrats during the past election cycle, with the total differential between the two parties being $703,172. Furthermore, some of the organization’s leadership positions are held by former Obama staffers.

While Gates has not declared himself to be either a Republican or a Democrat, he has given millions of dollars to liberal organizations like Planned Parenthood, where his father was an active board member. From 2010-2013, BMGF donated over $14.5 million to Planned Parenthood, making them one of the company’s largest donors.

Other examples of Gates’ donations include efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change. In 2019 alone, the BMGF pledged $310 million to the Global Commission on Adaption to take “climate action.” Gates’ efforts on the matter began in 2006 when he founded TerraPower, a company researching methods to produce more “environmental-friendly” nuclear energy.

Since then, Gates has stated that climate change will be a priority for the BMGF moving forward. He is also urging other wealthy individuals to follow in the steps of Elon Musk and begin focusing on eco-friendly projects.

In addition, Gates’s foundation also wields significant influence on the world stage, with the BMGF reportedly spending more on global health than the World Health Organization.

Domestically, Bill Gates has recently become the largest owner of farmland in the United States, with American farmers expressing concern while referencing Gates’ impact on agriculture in India and Mexico. 

As the BMGF’s website states, one of its six divisions is dedicated to promoting public policy with foreign governments. They have worked with prominent countries including China and India, as well as smaller, more agriculturally based countries such as Ethiopia. However, the foundation’s interventions have not always led to positive results.

BMGF reportedly spent $4.9 billion forcing African countries to abandon their established farming methods and use GMO agriculture techniques attempted in the United States. In the 18 African countries where this methodology was applied, hunger increased by 30% with the total number of people experiencing hunger rising by approximately 30 million.

The majority of Gates’ activism has come through his philanthropy and donations, but in recent years, Gates has also made controversial political statements.

In early 2019, Gates proposed raising the estate tax, which deals with the transfer of property after death, as well as the capital gains tax, which pertains to assets sold for a higher price than their purchasing price. Ultimately, he believes the United States needs a more progressive tax system.

Gates also started a podcast in December of 2020 with actress Rashida Jones, where the two pose questions dealing with societal and cultural matters such as inequality and climate change.

It may be that he has become more comfortable when it comes to speaking his mind, or perhaps he has been forced into the political spotlight because of the nature of his charity. However, regardless of intent, Gates has evolved into an extremely influential and powerful political force, with the ability to influence policies worldwide.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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