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Peter Thiel’s Strategy of Pushing the GOP Right Is Just Getting Started

Even with a potential Blake Masters loss, the venture capitalist has a stable of senators and plenty of money to continue reshaping the Republican party.

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Photo illustration: 731; Photo: Getty Images

In mid-September, Peter Thiel appeared at the National Conservatism Conference in Miami to offer a bit of advice to the far right movement that he helped create and for which he serves as the key financial patron. The tech investor began with some trademark provocations: He said liberals were “imperial storm troopers,” that California was a “failed state” and that “wokeism,” the conservative putdown used to describe liberals’ desire for equality, was akin to Wahhabism, the fundamentalist strain of Islam practiced by the Sept. 11 hijackers.

Toward the end of his talk, Thiel added some comments about his own side. He complained that the Republicans had failed to offer a real policy agenda to voters. Instead, he said, the prevailing 2022 message from GOP candidates amounted to warnings about liberal depravity in such cities as San Francisco. “It’s the homeless people pooping all over the place,” he said, summing up the candidates’ message. Thiel suggested that complaints about the left were fundamentally hollow and counterproductive. “My intuition is that this sort of nihilistic negation is probably not enough,” he said.