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Peter Thiel’s GOP Makeover

How the immortality-obsessed tech billionaire wants to reshape the Republican party to disrupt the world.
March 17, 2022
Peter Thiel's Frightening Spiel | Not My Party with Tim Miller

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: Could a gay Silicon Valley billionaire who might be kind of a vampire and wants to create countries on the sea be the most influential person for the future of the Republican party?

Peter Thiel: Basically, all the pieces make sense.

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. This week I wanna talk to you about a guy named Peter Thiel. You might know him as the robotically diabolical early Facebook investor in The Social Network.

“Peter Thiel” (Wallace Langham in The Social Network): Hey guys.

Miller: Or the first openly gay man to speak at the GOP Convention.

Thiel: I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican.

Miller: Or the guy financing the Right Stuff, the new conservative dating app where women can find a man who likes locker-room talk and grabbing ’em by the pussy.

Jean-Luc Picard: Ingenious.

Miller: Well that guy is trying to remake the party in his Barry’s Bootcamp image.

Joey Thurman: So I’m sweaty, I’m hot. I swear, I still smell good.

Miller: He’s investing tens of millions in candidates who hew to an extreme nationalist agenda. Here’s Thiel’s political spiel.

Woman on The Simpsons: What is his deal?

Miller: Crack down on immigration. Go after Big Tech. Isolationist foreign policy that’s tough on China but soft on Putin. Dismantle big parts of the federal government. Support Bitcoin and other alternative currencies. Reject climate science. And of course, clamp down on anything he finds too woke.

Darius Davis (DeVaughn Nixon on Runaways): Stay woke.

Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock): Never.

Miller: Dude is so out there that even Steve Bannon described his proposals as far more disruptive than what Trump wanted.

William Forrester (Sean Connery in Finding Forrester): That’s quite an accomplishment.

Miller: And the frightening part is, this guy does have an eye for predicting the future. He started PayPal. And was among the first investors to Facebook. The last time oil prices skyrocketed, he was on it. He called of the housing bubble that led to the 2008 economic collapse. And in 2017, he bet $15 to 20 million on Bitcoin, which has turned into Scrooge McDuck-level gold bars.

Scrooge McDuck: What a surprise.

Miller: Now he’s bringing that Rain Man-like track record to politics. He’s personally interviewing Republican candidates before putting in money. And has decided to fund 16 white dudes plus one woman, who happens to be running against vocal anti-Trumper Liz Cheney. (Still love ya, Liz!) So if you’re like me and miss the old—

George W. Bush: Compassionate conservatism.

Miller: —Thiel’s move should be a concern. Because he’s planning to finance a future of smart Trumps—

Liz Lemon: No, that’s not a thing.

Miller: —who share the former guy’s antidemocratic tendencies, but might be more competent when it comes to actually, you know, pulling it off. And because Thiel’s vision for the GOP might actually come to pass, you should get a sense for just how out there he can be.

Henry McCord (Tim Daly in Madam Secretary): How is that, exactly?

Miller: Thiel wrote a book arguing that it actively makes things worse when we worry so much about racism and multiculturalism. He said he doesn’t think freedom and democracy are compatible, in part because women and welfare recipients are allowed to vote, and they don’t love their freedoms like white bros do.

He’s a climate change truther. And encouraged Trump to hire a science adviser who thought carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was a good thing.

Bill Nye the Science Guy: The planet’s on f**** fire.

Miller: He’s a big crypto guy. And has strongly implied that he’d like to dismantle the government-backed currency system altogether. He’s a big promoter of seasteading, which was the idea that smart guys (and I assume some women for reproduction purposes?) would create a community on a boat that floats in international waters and wouldn’t be controlled by any government.

Mariner (Kevin Costner in Waterworld): Nothing’s free in Waterworld.

Miller: And oh yeah, he’s huge on immortality and has funded tons of moonshot fountain-of-youth s***, like cryogenics and parabiosis, which may or may not include the practice of injecting his vampiric body with twink blood.

Thiel: I wanna publicly tell you that I’m not a vampire.

Gavin Belson (Matt Ross in Silicon Valley): He’s my transfusion associate.

Dr. Evil: Right.

Miller: And right now, it’s been the Thiel-backed candidates who have been the most vocal about the U.S. not doing anything to stop Russia’s advances in Ukraine.

Blake Masters: The ruling class’s latest genius idea is to send American teenagers over to the Ukraine, to fight and die.

Seymour (Steve Buscemi from Ghost World): Must have missed that one.

Miller: The good news, those candidates aren’t polling so hot right now. But it’s early in the midterm cycle and Peter’s got unlimited resources to help them turn it around. And for those of us in the middle, that’s a scary thought. See you next week for more “Not My Party”—from Colorado.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.