Decades ago, America’s monied interests bankrolled a Republican establishment that believed in fiscal conservatism, anti-communism and constitutional democracy.
Today’s billionaire class is pushing a radically anti-democratic agenda for America – backing Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen, calling for restrictions on voting and even questioning the value of democracy.
Peter Thiel, the billionaire tech financier who is among those leading the charge, once wrote, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”
Thiel is using his fortune to squelch democracy. He donated $15m to the successful Republican Ohio senatorial primary campaign of JD Vance, who alleges that the 2020 election was stolen and that Biden’s immigration policy has meant “more Democrat voters pouring into this country.”
Thiel has donated at least $10m to the Arizona Republican primary race of Blake Masters, who also claims Trump won the 2020 election and admires Lee Kuan Yew, the authoritarian founder of modern Singapore.
The former generation of wealthy conservatives backed candidates like Barry Goldwater, who wanted to conserve American institutions.
Thiel and his fellow billionaires in the anti-democracy movement don’t want to conserve much of anything – at least not anything that occurred after the 1920s, which includes Social Security, civil rights, and even women’s right to vote. As Thiel wrote:
The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. 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.