Peter Thiel

Immigration Hawk Kris Kobach's Senate Campaign Is Heavily Supported by Peter Thiel

Via a SuperPAC, Thiel is promoting conservative nationalism via the former Kansas secretary of state and current U.S. Senate contender.

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Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, is seeking the GOP nomination to replace retiring Republican Pat Roberts in this year's race for Roberts' U.S. Senate seat. And he has to thank for his campaign's viability an $850,000 investment from controversial tech billionaire Peter Thiel.

"I think the money that that super PAC is putting into the race—primarily through this one rich guy—is absolutely the lifeblood of the pro-Kobach campaign at this moment," Patrick Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas, told Recode. "You take that money away and Kobach doesn't have a lot of campaign left."

That Thiel—often identified, including by himself, as a libertarian—is dedicating himself to a candidate whose primary obsession is immigration restriction is a further sign of the tumultuous swirl of hypernationalism pushed by and surrounding Thiel (and discussed at length in a story in the August/September issue of Reason, now available online to subscribers).

Unnamed friends of Thiel tell Recode that Thiel "has a really strong preference for people who stick their middle finger up to the status quo and conventional wisdom. There is nobody who I think was more obviously sticking his middle finger up at conventional wisdom quite like Kris Kobach."

Thiel back in 2016 shook up some of his libertarian fans by becoming a Trump delegate and hyping him onstage at the Republican National Convention. Thiel went on to become a poster boy for the new conservative nationalism and has been reported to be disappointed in the president lately and so far sitting out this presidential race.

Thiel had, however, reportedly began donating to immigration-restrictionist causes at least as far back as 2008, and over the years he's given to a wide variety of GOP candidates and PACs, including $2 million to a Carly Fiorina PAC.

Thiel's interest in Kobach is likely rooted in the same reasons he was enthusiastic about Trump. Kobach was one of the minds behind Trump's Muslim registry and his unrepentant anti-immigration views mark him as perhaps Trumpier than Trump. (Kobach believes COVID-19 death numbers are being manipulated up to harm the president, for one.) Trump endorsed Kobach in his failed attempt to become governor of Kansas in 2018, and Thiel began funding Kobach during that race. Fellow disillusioned Trump superfan and immigration-hater Ann Coulter co-hosted a Kobach fundraiser in Thiel's New York apartment.

Recode reports that Thiel has "cut at least three successive checks to [a pro-Kobach PAC called Free Forever], the most recent for a half-million dollars last month." The PAC has "spent more than four times what Kobach's campaign itself has spent on television and radio ads…The heavy amount of mailers sent by the PAC have run the gamut of attacking [Republican challenger Roger] Marshall as 'anti-American' for being insufficiently tough on immigration, alleging that he voted to fund 'Rosie O'Donnell summer camp,' 'global warming musicals,' and 'transgender plays,' and promising that Kobach will 'stop the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg.'"

Thiel's other candidate donations this year are going to another super immigration hawk, and advocate of sending in federal troops to quell protesters, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.

Kobach is also one of the leading voices claiming American elections are rife with fraud and had his attempt to fight it when he was Kansas' secretary of state overturned in 2018 by a federal judge who questioned the reality of the problem Kobach was allegedly solving.

The primary election for the U.S. Senate seat Kobach is vying for will be held on August 4.

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  1. And the Koch brothers fund reason.

    1. Well it’s Koch brother (singular) now since David passed away.

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  2. The more I hear about Peter Thiel, the more I like him!

    1. The more I hear about Peter Thiel, the more I dislike him!

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  4. Ugh. And billionaires are usually on the right side of history. It’s disappointing to see one of them funding alt-right white nationalism.

  5. Thiel used to be one of the good guys. Now he’s fully mired in the toxic swamp.

  6. Because neither Thiel nor Kobach are open borders nut cases, the reason / koch brand of libertarians wrote a hit piece. And it featured Trump because why not.

    1. Your definition of hit piece is odd.

    2. You perceive it as a hit piece, Art Kumquat, because you are a cranky, obsolete bigot.

  7. >>”at least three successive checks”

    three? in succession? dayum!

    1. But were they really in succession? Do we have the check numbers yet? Get on it Reason!! This cries out for your crack investigative research!!

  8. Worked for Tom Steyer. Why billionaires (especially Thiel with his libertarian roots) waste money on politicians instead of trying to fix the problem (whatever it is) themselves confuses me? Peter should buy land on the border and build a fence himself; he’d get more for his money that way.

    1. The billionaires are getting smarter (at least the ones on the left). Now they’re hiring lawyers to push their agenda from state AG offices. But of course, that pales in comparison to Peter Thiel giving not even a million dollars to a Republican Senate candidate.

      1. Specifically, it’s Michael Bloomberg sending his own climate change lawyers to stat AG offices. I’ve heard surprisingly little pushback over this, so expect to see more of it in the future.

        https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/feb/9/mike-bloomberg-advances-green-agenda-privately-pai/

        1. He’s another one, spent half a billion and got bubkiss in return. Will read that link, thanks.

        2. I don’t expect to see “more of it” in Reason, though.

    2. The same reason billionaires have always used lobbyists and campaign donation to get what they want – it’s cheaper. Why spend $100 million buying something to get a result when you can spend $2 million to get the government to use coercion to get the same result?

  9. Can we get a definition of “conservative nationalism”?

    1. Anything to the right of open borders whack jobs like Dalmia

      1. We’re all alt-righters now.

        1. Not me

          1. “WE will be the judge of that! You don’t just get to say what you think you are.”
            ~blue-check Twitter, MSM, NYT/WaPo, etc.

  10. I thought people had the right to support whatever ideas or candidates they want to with their own money. I guess reason now rejects the 1st Amendment. If you don’t like this guy, don’t vote for him. But the fact that some do and are funding him is not worth noting unless you think there is something wrong with Thiel exercising his 1st Amendment rights.

    1. Next they’ll be demanding to see his tax returns

  11. Wait, a billionaire is financially supporting a political campaign he likes? This has never happened before in the history of politics!
    No wonder this is a story while the dozens of Democrat billionaires funneling money to left-wing political campaigns isn’t.

    1. https://freebeacon.com/2020-election/soros-pours-record-50-million-into-2020-election/

      George Soros is putting in millions to support candidates who are against everything reason claims to support. That is not a story and this is because cares about open borders and nothing else.

      1. Reason has become a single-issue advocacy org. Absolutely pathetic.

        1. And it’s a single issue that’s right up there with correctly implemented socialism as far as it’s feasibility: the complete dissolution of national borders without violence.

          I think the Roman’s, the Spanish, the English, and the French did away with more borders without even a hint of libertarianism but something tells me that method isn’t what they’re talking about, even while we live in the world they created.

          Sort of ironic, in a way, and I’m told we need to destroy that world for equality because…what came before it was so equal? I guess being hacked to death by swords was better than voting to some.

    2. One of Reason’s stupidest takes, and there’s many contenders, was that maybe outsiders financing lawsuits is just wrong. Of the hundreds of famous lawsuits funded by third parties, you can probably figure out which specific one prompted that take.

  12. I take it, by “hypernationalism”, you mean plain ordinary nationalism?

    1. I think the term hypernationalism means the belief that countries should actually have borders at all.

  13. George Soros has spent $50M this election season and helped elect a lot of DA’s that are unwilling to prosecute criminals if they agree with their politics.

    *checks Reason’s history*

    Yup, Thiel donating to Kobach is a much bigger story. Clearly.

  14. alleging that he voted to fund ‘Rosie O’Donnell summer camp,’ ‘global warming musicals,’ and ‘transgender plays,’ and promising that Kobach will ‘stop the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg.'”

    I take it from the scare quotes that I should WANT taxpayer funded Rosie O’Donnell summer camp, global warming transgender theater productions, and another RBG?

    1. It’s literally quoting the document, dipshit.

      1. Why are they quoting it if not to criticize him for objecting to it? Why mention it if not to present it as a bad thing?

      2. If they aren’t scare quotes then there is no point at all to that whole paragraph. If he had a point he might try to, for instance, prove that the claims were wrong. Which he doesn’t. He just smarmily implies that only a rube would even mention such a thing.

  15. Libertardians gonna cancel Thiel.

  16. So?

    What next? Gonna start doxxing his campaign staff?

    For a magazine that used to make some claims to intellectual freedom for all, Reason is willing to back off that principle when, I guess, “the science is settled”. In this case the unilateral (and unproved) position that we don’t need borders and will be just fine with a few hundred million self-selected immigrants.

    Fuck off, Doherty.

  17. How about some analysis of Kobachs overall and as compared to other serious contenders for the senatorship?

    1. Overall, the only thing that matters to Reason about a politician is his or her position on open borders.

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  19. They cover this but not BLM donations possibly bgoing to the DNC?

    1. Consider it an investment in a less racist future for us all

      1. Yes because blaming everything on whites is less racist. I hope you were being facetious.

  20. Oh, well, we can’t have THAT! Somebody find the Queen of Hearts.

  21. Once again Reason discredits itself by labeling thugs who loot, pillage, and burn other people’s property as “protesters.” You might as well merge into the Daily Kos and have done.

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  23. “Those conservative immigration hawks and nationalists can never be one of us! They’re like fans of their own country and don’t want a model UN society!”

    Meanwhile on antifa, consisting of Marxists, pedophiles, anti semites and even white supremacists –

    “Yah antifa and BLM yay, they’ll reform police for sure Yay”

    More immigrants and minorities will be killed by someone who effectively sides with antifa than some “right winger”. Every year. And that’s after counting some right wing nutjob might shoot up a Walmart.

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  24. Via a SuperPAC, Thiel is promoting conservative nationalism via the former Kansas secretary of state and current U.S. Senate contender.

    Kobach’s platform calls for “ending illegal immigration”. Apparently, simply wanting to enforce existing immigration law makes one a “conservative nationalist” (insinuating “nearly a Nazi”) in Doherty’s eyes.

    Heaven forbid immigrants like Thiel and myself support a lawful and rational immigration system, a system that doesn’t privilege illegal migrants over legal immigrants.

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