Silicon Valley is upset with and confused by Peter Thiel for speaking at the recent RNC Convention. They are asking how can a California technology luminary be a Republican? That’s the wrong question. The right questions are:
(1) Why aren’t most technology luminaries Republicans?
(2) Why isn’t the GOP doing more to win over Silicon Valley voters, donors, and thought leaders?
Peter Thiel, like many Silicon Valley conservatives and libertarians leans Republican because the GOP’s policies on taxes, regulation and (historically) trade are pro-growth, and pro-innovation. Many of the “lions” of Silicon Valley are reliable Republicans: Meg Whitman, John Chambers, and Larry Ellison.
Peter Thiel himself founded the conservative Stanford Review whose alums include co-founders of PayPal, LinkedIn, and an early investor in Facebook (Thiel himself). The Stanford Review mafia is linked via PayPal with Elon Musk. Thus, key figures in Silicon Valley’s old and new guards understand that excess government regulation and taxation work in direct opposition to economic creativity and prosperity.
In 2016 and beyond, it is critically important that the GOP reach out to Silicon Valley luminaries. Not only to lifelong libertarians and conservatives such as Thiel and Chambers, but also to more liberal folks like Mark Zuckerberg, who has shown interest in engaging with the GOP and conservatives.
The GOP may have lost the “battle” of Silicon Valley in 2016, but the war continues. For example, the audience in Cleveland showed great respect for the openly gay Thiel, and toward Donald Trump’s “LGBTQ” comments. Thiel’s speech in particular produced one of the most dramatic moments in convention history of either party. When he declared that he was proud to be gay, the crowd cheered, clapped and stood up. This is not the Republican Party that the MSM would have you believe.