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The Peter Thiel D.C. Gateway Drug

Peter Thiel
Photo by Marco Bello/Getty Images
Theodore Schleifer
April 19, 2022

For years now, ever since he poison-pilled Gawker and stumped at the Republican National Convention for Trump, there have been two competing narratives regarding the political ambitions of Peter Thiel. The first, gobbled up by the press, seductively posits that the billionaire investor and entrepreneur aims to build a Silicon Valley power center in G.O.P. donordom to fill the void left by the late David Koch and Sheldon Adelson, thereby creating an anti-woke counterpoint to his liberal peers.

The second theory, which I often hear from Thiel’s friends, is that his interest in kingmaking has been somewhat exaggerated—that P.T., as he is known by his inner circle, has a narrow, mostly personal interest in the success of his two protégés, J.D. Vance and Blake Masters, whose U.S. Senate campaigns he has sponsored in Ohio and Arizona to the tune of $10 million each.