Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been embarking on a tour across America in recent months, visiting some parts of the country where former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent relatively little time campaigning and failed to win in the 2016 presidential election.
“Every year I take on a personal challenge to learn new things and grow outside of my work. In recent years, I’ve run 365 miles, built a simple AI for my home, read 25 books and learned Mandarin,” Zuckerberg wrote in January on social media. “My personal challenge for 2017 is to have visited and met people in every state in the US by the end of the year. I’ve spent significant time in many states already, so I’ll need to travel to about 30 states this year to complete this challenge.”
Zuckerberg traveled to Wisconsin Sunday and experienced some of the state’s more unique highlights, including eating brats and cheese curds. He also visited a farm in Blanchardville, a town 50 miles southwest of Madison, and applauded the family that ran it, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“The family is incredibly disciplined,” Zuckerberg wrote on his social media profile. “Everyone works daylight to dark, seven days a week. When we were driving around his property, Jed told me he’d rather feed the cattle than feed himself if it came down to that.”
Zuckerberg participated in a number of different activities for his first time, including driving a 70-year-old tractor, feeding a calf, and trying unpasteurized milk straight from a cow.
Clinton famously lost the usually solid blue state of Wisconsin to President Donald Trump, which stunned most pundits and much of the general public. Clinton was the first major-party nominee since 1972 not to campaign in the state, according to The Wisconsin State Journal.
The tech wunderkind also traveled through Ohio late last week, even showing up to a random residence to eat dinner.
Zuckerberg reportedly asked his staff to arrange a dinner with Democrats who voted for Trump in the election. They eventually found Daniel Moore after seeing him quoted in a story on cleveland.com. Moore voted for former President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 but campaigned heavily for Trump, reports the Youngstown Vindicator.
Moore said Zuckerberg wanted to visit the area because of the attention the Rust Belt received during the political campaign, according to a local NBC News affiliate.
“He cares very much about family and about community. And he’s taking steps to do a lot of very positive things with his money,” Moore said of his dinner guest. “We got to know a very cool guy. Just down-to-earth and real easy to talk to.”
Clinton visited Ohio several times during the course of her campaign and spent way more on advertisements in the state compared to Trump. She ultimately lost by a difference of around 8 percent, or more than 400,000 voters. Obama won Ohio in 2012 by 3 percentage points, indicating that the swing state shifted drastically in the Republican Party’s favor.
Zuckerberg also took a trip to the University of Michigan Dearborn Friday to talk and engage with students.
Clinton failed to win Michigan, the first time a Democratic candidate has lost the state since 1988. While Trump would have won the election regardless of Michigan’s final results, some believe losing the state epitomized the failures of Clinton’s campaign.
As Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic wrote in November, “the president-elect won by locking in support from traditional ‘blue wall’ states Hillary Clinton thought were in her corner.”
Clinton, though, blamed much of her campaign team for her loss, according to an excerpt of new tell-all book obtained by The Hill. She reportedly blames her former campaign director Robby Mook for not selecting the right travel stops, spending heavily in the wrong areas, and focusing on minority communities instead of the white base that supported her against Obama in 2008.
Zuckerberg also visited states like Alabama, where he met with famous football coach Nick Saban, and Indiana, where the tech founder “crashed” a fire department’s dinner.
While Zuckerberg denies that he is running for president in 2020, his apparently successful engagements with people in sometimes overlooked parts of the country shows that he could have the wherewithal to campaign well.
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