Local smartest-man-in-the-room VC Peter Thiel has apparently applied his contrarian tendencies to this election year as we learn today that he's signed on to be a delegate for Donald Trump. Like some of his billionaire friends in tech, Thiel is a Republican and the libertarian-Republican streak in Silicon Valley has been well documented. But unlike a number of smart people in the Valley, Thiel is not rejecting the party's embattled presumptive nominee, who has managed to offend or disgust pretty much everyone except white men. As the Business Times notes, Thiel stands nearly alone among his local peers in coming out as a Trump supporter, and it's a little weird given that he's the gay one.
Forbes broke the news Monday about Thiel showing up on a list of approved Trump delegates, meaning he'll be at the Republican Convention representing California's 12th Congressional district, which includes San Francisco.
And it's not as if gay stuff matters much to the Paypal founder and Facebook board member he previously backed the evangelical Christian, bigoted candidacy of Ted Cruz. And who has to worry about civil rights when you're a billionaire!?
Thiel's fellow Paypal cofounders, meanwhile, Max Levchin and Elon Musk, lean way more Democratic, as Wired notes, with Musk supporting Clinton and Levchin being outspoken on LGBT issues. Also fellow big-wig VC Marc Andreessen has made his disdain for Trump well known in tweets like the one below, and Y Combinator President Sam Altman, who is a Republican, told Bloomberg last week that he'll probably vote for Hillary.
This might be a problem, right? pic.twitter.com/jShfbW1ot1— Charles Sykes (@SykesCharlie) May 8, 2016
Back in February, This American Life profiled a young Republican in South Carolina named Alex Chalgren, the South Carolina director for Students for Trump who is both black and gay, and who maintained that he was such a vocal Trump supporter because he was Christian, had conservative values, but believed that Trump was a supporter of gay marriage. When Trump later betrayed some earlier statements on the topic and came out against gay marriage, saying he would try to appoint a Supreme Court justice who would help overturn it, Chalgren was upset but passed it off as simple political expediency.
Thiel appears to be pivoting, as it were, having been an early supporter of Carly Fiorina, and one of the biggest donors to Ron Paul in the past, as Politico's Shane Goldmacher just pointed out, but that probably just speaks to Thiel's libertarian views. Paul hasn't exactly been friendly to gay issues, and had a gay scare of his own on camera in the 2009 film Bruno, when comedian Sasha Baron-Cohen punk'd him into a hilarious hotel room seduction scene that Paul went running from yelling, "He's queerer than blazes!"
But, then, Thiel's always been his own man, and perhaps not really all that interested in other people who are not founders, and who don't have a touch of Asperger's.
And he and Trump have one clear thing in common: their dislike for "the woman card." Thiel famously made some statements back in 2009 about how everything in this country went to hell after the 1920s, after women were given the right to vote. He wrote, as Gawker noted, "Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians have rendered the notion of 'capitalist democracy' into an oxymoron."
Right. Good luck trying to say any of those words to Trump and have them mean anything.
Meanwhile, Trump has another notable conservative gay supporter: Breitbart's technology writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who even calls himself a "Trump-sexual" in this New York Times Mag interview, and refers to Trump as "Daddy."