After the July 1932 elections, the Nazi Party was broke, despite having won 230 seats in the Reichstag, up from 107 seats. Nazi candidates won 37.3% of the vote (up 19 points from 2 years earlier). But the government was dysfunctional and new elections were called 4 months later. The Nazis lost 34 seats. Who bailed the Nazis out? The big industrialists put up the bread-- especially Krupp and I.G. Farben, the leaders of each company later charged with war crimes. Why did they back Hitler? He promised to eliminate unions and outlaw the Communist Party. That was enough to inspire Gustav Krupp and his top cronies to raise $30 million (in today's money) for the Nazi campaign machine.
Who is financing the rise of naziism in the U.S. today? Certainly the fascist Mercer family has to be at the top of any list, even if their contributions weren't always direct money transfers. They gave Trump retainers Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, for example, not to mention Cambridge Analytica. Here are Nazi giant Rebekah Mercer with Kellyanne and Bannon:
And then there was Israeli Nazi Sheldon Adelson, currently rotting in Hell, who spent uncountable millions to bring fascism to America on behalf of the Likud Party, including $75 million on media campaigns smearing Joe Biden during the campaign.
But the 10 biggest traditional underwriters of Trump's 2020 campaign were:
Timothy Mellon, an heir to the Mellon banking fortune, owner of Pan Am Railroads and the grandson of former U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon-- $10 million
Kelcy Warren, owner of the Dakota Access oil pipeline- $10 million
Patricia Duggan, Scientology lunatic- $6 million
Geoffrey Palmer, quintessentially evil landlord- $6 million
Linda McMahon, WWE founder- $4.5 million
Stephen Schwarzman, founder, chairman and CEO of Blackstone- $3 million
Richard and Liz Uihlein, owners of Uline Shipping- $2.75 million
Diane Hendricks- founder of ABC Roofing Supplies- $2 million
Warren Stephens- founder, chairman and CEO of Stephens financial services- $1.5 million
Chera Moskowitz, president of Hawaiian Gardens Casino in Los Angeles- $1.3 million
But that was just money directly to a Trump superPAC. Others spread around a lot more to fascist candidates. The Adelsons have $218 million in 2020. Ike Perlmutter (Marvel Entertainment) gave $24 million. Amy and Kelcy (mentioned above) Warren kicked in $14 million to fascist candidates (including one Democrat, Joe Manchin).
And this cycle? This morning's NY Times focused on one-- German billionaire Nazi Peter Thiel, who was raised in South Africa, publicly supported apartheid and who Trump once floated, implausibly, as a Supreme Court nominee, and who has a whole slate of fascist candidates for Congress he's running and who he is offering Trump bribes to endorse. It was odd enough finding so many Jews financing the rise of American Naziism but Thiel is an openly gay man doing the same!
"Thiel," wrote Ryan Mac and Lisa Lerer, "who became known in 2016 as one of the biggest donors to Trump’s presidential campaign, has re-emerged as a key financier of the Make America Great Again movement. After sitting out the 2020 presidential race, the venture capitalist this year is backing 16 Senate and House candidates, many of whom have embraced the lie that Mr. Trump won the election. To get these candidates into office, Thiel has given more than $20.4 million. That essentially puts him and Kenneth Griffin, the chief executive of the hedge fund Citadel, in a tie as the largest individual donors to Republican politics this election cycle." Thiel and his husband, junior bankster Matt Danzeisen, have two children.
What sets Thiel’s spending apart, though, is its focus on hard-right candidates who traffic in the conspiracy theories espoused by Trump and who cast themselves as rebels determined to overthrow the Republican establishment and even the broader American political order. These campaigns have raised millions in small-dollar donations, but Thiel’s wealth could accelerate the shift of views once considered fringe to the mainstream-- while making himself a new power broker on the right.
“When you have a funder who is actively elevating candidates who are denying the legitimacy of elections, that is a direct assault on the foundation of democracy,” said Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the left-leaning group New America, who studies campaign finance and hyperpartisanship.
The candidates Thiel has funded offer a window into his ideology. While the investor has been something of a cipher, he is currently driven by a worldview that the establishment and globalization have failed, that current immigration policy pillages the middle class and that the country must dismantle federal institutions.
Thiel has started articulating his thinking publicly, recently headlining at least six conservative and libertarian gatherings where he criticized the Chinese Communist Party and big tech companies and questioned climate science. He has taken issue with what he calls the “extreme dogmatism” within establishment institutions, which he said had sent the country backward.
At an October dinner at Stanford University for the Federalist Society, he spoke about the “deranged society” that “a completely deranged government” had created, according to a recording of the event obtained by the New York Times. The United States was on the verge of a momentous correction, he said.
“My somewhat apocalyptic, somewhat hopeful thought is that we are finally at a point where things are breaking,” Thiel said.
Thiel, 54, has not publicly said what he believes about the 2020 election. But in Trump, he sees a vessel to push through his ideological goals, three people close to the investor said. The two men met recently in New York and at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla. Thiel also funded an app company run by John McEntee, one of Trump’s closest aides, two people with knowledge of the deal said.
Unlike traditional Republican donors who have focused on their party’s winning control of Congress and the White House, Thiel has set his sights on reshaping the Republican agenda with his brand of anti-establishment contrarianism, said Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist.
“I don’t think it’s just about flipping the Senate,” said Bannon, who has known Thiel since 2016. “I think Peter wants to change the direction of the country.”
Thiel’s giving is expected to make up just a small fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars that are likely to flow through campaigns this cycle. But the amounts he is pouring into individual races and the early nature of his primary donations have put him on the radar of Republican hopefuls.
In the past, many courted the billionaire Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson, the late casino magnate. This year, they have clamored for invitations to Thiel’s Los Angeles and Miami Beach homes, or debated how to at least get on the phone with him, political strategists said.
Thiel personally vets the candidates he gives to, said three Republican strategists, who declined to be named for fear of retaliation. In addition to Harriet Hageman, the challenger to Cheney, he is backing Joe Kent and Loren Culp, both of whom are running against House Republicans in Washington State who voted to impeach Trump. He also gave to a political action committee associated with Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who is not up for re-election this year.
Thiel has attracted the most attention for two $10 million donations to the Senate candidates Blake Masters in Arizona and J.D. Vance in Ohio. Like Thiel, the men are tech investors with pedigrees from elite universities who cast themselves as antagonists to the establishment. They have also worked for the billionaire and been financially dependent on him. Masters, the chief operating officer of Thiel Capital, the investor’s family office, has promised to leave that job before Arizona’s August primary.
Thiel, who declined to comment for this article, announced last week that he would leave the board of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, which conservatives have accused of censorship. One reason for the change: He plans to focus more on politics.
Thiel was pretty openly both a racist and a Nazi at Stanford, helping found a neo-fascist newspaper, the Stanford Review, describing South African apartheid as "a sound economic system." He co-wrote The Diversity Myth "arguing that 'the extreme focus on racism' had caused greater societal tension and acrimony. Rape, he and his co-author, David Sacks, wrote, sometimes included 'seductions that are later regretted. (Thiel has apologized for the book.) In 1998, Thiel helped create what would become the digital payments company PayPal," a gigantic tech rip-off of the easy entrepreneurs who used it. "He became Facebook’s first outside investor in 2004 and established the venture capital firm Founders Fund a year later. Forbes puts his fortune at $2.6 billion."
In a CATO essay he penned in 2009 he paraphrased Hitler's appeal to the German industrialists who financed the Nazi Party in the early 1930s, writing "that he had come to 'no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,' arguing that American politics would always be hostile to free-market ideals, and that politics was about interfering with other people’s lives without their consent. Since then, he has hosted and attended events with white nationalists and alt-right figures. His political giving evolved with those views. He donated lavishly to Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns before turning to candidates who were more extreme than the Republican establishment."
In 2013, Curtis Yarvin, an entrepreneur who has voiced racist beliefs and said democracy was a destructive system of government, emailed Thiel. Yarvin wrote that Cruz, then a newly elected senator, “needs to purge every single traitor” from the Republican Party. In the email, which The Times obtained, Yarvin argued that it didn’t matter if those candidates lost general elections or cost the party control in Congress.
Thiel, who had donated to Cruz’s 2012 campaign, replied, “It’s relatively safe to support Cruz (for me) because he threatens the Republican establishment.”
Thiel used his money to fund other causes. In 2016, he was revealed as the secret funder of a lawsuit that targeted Gawker Media, which had reported he was gay. Gawker declared bankruptcy, partly from the costs of fighting the lawsuit.
...Thiel’s political giving ramped up last spring with his $10 million checks to PACs supporting Vance and Masters. The sums were his biggest and the largest ever one-time contributions to a PAC backing a single candidate, according to OpenSecrets.
Like Trump in 2016, Vance and Masters lack experience in politics. Vance, the venture capitalist who wrote the best-selling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, met Thiel a decade ago when the billionaire delivered a lecture at Yale Law School, where Vance was a student.
Vance later worked at Mithril Capital, one of Thiel’s investment funds, before opening his own fund in Ohio, Narya Capital, in which Thiel is an investor. Vance took home more than $400,000 in salary from Narya in 2020 and the first half of 2021, according to financial disclosures.
Masters met Thiel when he was a Stanford law student in 2012 and the investor taught a class on start-ups. The two later co-wrote a best-selling business book, Zero to One. In 2020, Masters reported more than $1.1 million in salary from Thiel Capital and book royalties.
Vance, Masters and their campaigns did not respond to requests for comment.
Both candidates have repeated the Trumpian lie of election fraud, with Masters stating in a November campaign ad, “I think Trump won in 2020.” They have also made Thiel a selling point in their campaigns.
In November, Vance wrote on Twitter that anyone who donated $10,800 to his campaign could attend a small group dinner with him and Thiel. Masters offered the same opportunity for a meal with Thiel and raised $550,000 by selling nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, of Zero to One digital art that would give holders “access to parties with me and Peter.”
Thiel’s backing has prompted other tech investors to support the two candidates. Sacks, the co-author of The Diversity Myth and now an investor, hosted a fund-raiser for Vance. Joe Lonsdale, a venture capitalist, held one for Masters.
Thiel has also made smaller donations to Trump loyalists, including in September to Hageman and Patrick Witt, a former Trump administration official running for a House seat in Georgia.
His backing may not be enough. In Ohio, Vance trails in polling, partly hampered by a previous denunciation of Trump. In Arizona, Masters is competing in a crowded field.
Still, some Republicans worry that Thiel is arming candidates who are too extreme with financial firepower, fueling what could be politically detrimental primary races.
“You have to nominate candidates who can win in the fall and not just damage everyone on the way,” said Scott Reed, a longtime Republican strategist.
But Thiel appears ready to press forward. In a 20-minute speech at the National Conservatism Conference in October, he said nationalism was “a corrective” to the “brain-dead, one-world state” of globalism. He also blasted the Biden administration.
“We have the zombie retreads just busy rearranging the deck chairs,” he said. “We need dissident voices more than ever.”