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Peter Thiel is backing a new generation of Trump-aligned Republicans


Political analysts say Thiel’s intensified pivot to politics highlights his power to shape the Republican party and, by extension, the future of American democracy.

“There’s two levels to analyze this on,” said David Karpf, a political scientist at George Washington University. “The first is, Peter Thiel now has a lot more time to spend his money on electing Republicans in the fall; what’s that going to mean for election outcomes? The other is, Peter Thiel, prominent Trump backer, has decided that his priority, instead of being a board member at Meta, is keeping the GOP in the clutches of Trump.”

A spokesperson for Thiel did not respond to a request for comment on the timing of his departure from Meta or his political ambitions.

Peter Thiel delivered a speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Thiel’s early forays into politics

Thiel, 54, got rich by launching and backing a number of billion-dollar tech companies. He co-founded PayPal and data analytics firm Palantir Technologies; he was the first outside investor in Facebook; and he was an early investor in LinkedIn, Yelp and other major tech firms.

He has proven himself to be a power player in the tech industry, with a network of influential friends and investment firms throughout Silicon Valley. In recent years, he’s begun to build up influence in politics as well, in a way that has sometimes led to rifts with friends and critics in the tech industry.

He supported Texas Republican Ron Paul’s presidential bids in 2008 and 2012, as well as that of Republican and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina in 2016. But it was Thiel’s decision to very publicly throw his weight behind Donald Trump’s candidacy for president in 2016 that sparked outrage throughout Silicon Valley.

Thiel was a delegate for Trump and speaker at the 2016 Republican National Convention, and donated $1.25 million to his campaign. Zuckerberg at the time defended Thiel and his place on the company’s board, saying on an internal post, “we can’t create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidate.”
After Trump won, Thiel joined his official his transition team and brought in other members of his inner circle; several Thiel allies also joined the Trump administration. During Trump’s presidency, Thiel helped organize meetings between the Trump and tech leaders, including, reportedly, with Zuckerberg.
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Since the Trump presidency ended, Thiel has begun backing other GOP candidates with similar agendas. That includes some insiders from Thiel’s own network whose political careers he has propped up, such as venture capitalist J.D. Vance, who is now running for Senate in Ohio, and Blake Masters, a Thiel Capital executive who is running for Senate in Arizona. Last year, Thiel contributed $10 million each to political action committees supporting Vance and Masters, in addition to smaller, individual donations to the candidates, Federal Election Commission data show.

Masters is principal at Thiel Capital and president of the Thiel…


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