Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley’s own wild card, is slated to speak at the Republican National Convention next Thursday, according to the New York Times.
Though Thiel has previously voiced support for the presumptive nominee, his views have historically not fully aligned with the Republican Party.
Thiel is a known Libertarian. He donated to Ron Paul in the past who straddles the lines between a Republican and Libertarian candidate. He has also given to ex-HP CEO Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz in his bid for Texas Attorney General in 2009.
The first day of the convention is set to be focused on Benghazi and immigration reform. Day two is reserved for the economy. Thiel’s speech will likely not focus on either of these topics. Over his career, Thiel has been vocal on a wide range of political topics that could all be fair-game in Cleveland.
Thiel has a tendency to make headlines with his unique opinions, but it’s hard to argue that others in his position of wealth and influence wouldn’t align with at-least some of his Libertarian views in private.
Being active in politics is not new for Thiel, he founded the politically contrarian Stanford Review while attending the school. Silicon Valley’s elite are strongly connected to Thiel’s politics. Joe Lonsdale of Formation 8, David O. Sacks of Yammer and Zenefits, and many others were editors of the Stanford Review.
While Thiel still vehemently denies plans to run for office, his platform is nearly more complete than that of the presumptive Republican nominee. Looking at where the two align and diverge will offer a clue into what Thiel’s talk will focus in on next week.
Thiel – In a conversation with Glenn Beck, Thiel said that he believes climate change is “more pseudoscience” than science. He didn’t strongly deny climate change but instead expressed serious concerns about the intimidation to conform to commonly held beliefs on the topic.
Trump – Trump believes that the best way to ensure safety from guns is to enable law-abiding citizens to carry and defend themselves. Trump has advocated for some gun restrictions for individuals on the no-fly list.
Thiel – As a Libertarian, Thiel does not believe it is the government’s role to control guns. PayPal does not allow the sale of firearms using its services. Thiel previously stated that he does not support that decision by the company.
Thiel – In 2007, Thiel expressed support for lower marginal tax rates to keep the US competitive in an increasingly global world. In the same interview, he advocated that the US should focus on taxing consumption.
Trump – The presumptive Republican nominee has stated that he believes marriage ought to be between a man and a woman. Outside of his opinions on marriage, Trump has been relatively supportive of other LGBTQ issues, coming out against a recent ban in North Carolina that prevents people from using a restroom that does not match the gender they were born with.
Thiel – Thiel is an openly gay member of the LGBTQ community. He supports the legalization of gay marriage.
Trump – He has been very strong on border security. A cornerstone of his platform is to construct a wall between Mexico & the United States.
Thiel – Rumors surfaced in 2008 that Thiel donated $1 million to Numbers USA. The group is focused on reducing immigration. Current proposals from the group call for a reduction in worker visas, increased border enforcement, and an end to visa overstays.
Trump – Supports across the board legalization of medical marijuana but believes states should set their own marijuana policies.
Thiel – Supports the legalization of marijuana and has invested in it.
Thiel – To the degree of nearly sounding like a broken record, Thiel has stated that he believes regulation is a barrier to innovation. He has previously advocated permanent autonomous Libertarian sea-dwellings that would operate in international waters.
Trump – Trump believes student loan debt is a pressing challenge for Americans. However, he does not believe it is the role of the Federal Government to intervene in local education at the K-12 level.
Thiel – Believes that we are in a higher education bubble. He is noted for having founded the Thiel Fellowship which pays students $100,000 to pursue an entrepreneurial passion in place of a formal education.