One of the most prominent funders of all three big recall campaigns in SF is now the MAGA movement’s San Francisco money man, and David Sacks is also on a curious kick preaching that Ukraine needs to surrender to Putin.
A Pacific Heights man who was one of the biggest financial backers of the campaigns to recall Chesa Boudin, recall the SF school board, and recall Gavin Newsom has declared a new enemy — Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Tech investor David Sacks penned an early October op-ed piece in the decaying husk of Newsweek magazine entitled “The Neocons and the Woke Left Are Joining Hands and Leading Us to Woke War III.” It complains about “Scores of blue-checks on Twitter” (parenthetically, Sacks has a blue-check on Twitter) and that a “mob that has formed to police the discourse on all things related to Ukraine” (not a January 6-style mob, but a “mob” in Sacks’s mind, somehow).
this encapsulates the emerging anti-Ukraine line from the Silicon Valley Thiel faction. These are not the only or most likely options. One very possible option is that Russia is driven out of Ukraine. That at least belongs in the top three. One very possible scenario is that … https://t.co/nFPegU8k3Q— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 20, 2022
Sacks’s Twitter feed has been almost entirely devoted to urging a Ukrainian surrender to Putin for the entire month of October. One tweet from today is embedded above, along with a quote-tweet that cannily points out an “emerging anti-Ukraine line from the Silicon Valley [Peter] Thiel faction.” Indeed, there is an angel-investor and hedge-funder movement afoot encouraging Ukraine to make concessions to their Russian invaders. What political game is afoot here?
For TNR, I wrote about the political rise of venture capitalist David Sacks, the PayPal mafia's reactionary politics, urban doomerism, and tech's disenchantment with liberalism. https://t.co/kgFpyoLKkh— Jacob Silverman (@SilvermanJacob) October 18, 2022
The political game afoot is explored in detail in a new, deep-dive, 4,000-word piece in The New Republic that explores Sacks’s particular web of influence and big-bucks donations. (And my god, that illustration is tremendous). You may not be familiar with Sacks’s name, but you may recall stories covered in this piece in which he was a player: the meth in the dog poop canard, the odd Tucker Carlson alliance with contrarian-libertarian tech billionaires, and claims that “free speech” is being “silenced” coming from wealthy, powerful men who get shit-tons of media coverage and opportunities to say whatever they went.
The New Republic goes into Sacks’s more recent political contributions, “his record of campaign finance donations tells the story of a die-hard Republican,” one that is oddly making San Francisco a MAGA money nexus. “In 2021, he gave $70,223 to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis,” the New Republic reports. “Last December, he hosted a fundraiser for [Ohio Senate candidate J.D.] Vance. In April, Sacks donated $1 million to Protect Ohio Values PAC, which supports Vance. Around the same time, Trump endorsed the Hillbilly Elegy author. Both the donation and the endorsement were reportedly brokered by Thiel. On September 15, Sacks co-hosted a Republican fundraiser with fellow PayPal mafia member Keith Rabois. Guests included current GOP Senators Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Chuck Grassley, and Republican candidates Masters, Mehmet Oz, and Vance.”
And as we covered earlier this week, Sacks is weirdly the primary donor in a miniscule Contra Costa Couty school board race — with school-board races now being the hobby-cause du jour for the Trumpy right and everyone who's nervous about trans kids.
It is not news that Republicans give money to Republicans, nor is it news anymore that born-at-third-base wealthy malcontents complain about “woke ideology” at the very companies for which they were angel investors. But this sudden and clearly Elon Musk-driven evangelizing about the need for Ukraine to surrender, when it’s not even clear if Russia has the upper hand anymore (nukes aside), deserves some investigation and analysis.
And it will probably get further investigation and analysis that the MAGA movement's most lucrative ATM may be located in, of all places, California’s Silicon Valley.
Image: Craft Ventures