Billionaire tech entrepreneur and Republican megadonor Peter Thiel has lamented what he described as a "disastrous" showing for the GOP in this year's midterm elections, warning that the party must change strategy to avoid defeat throughout the rest of the decade.
“The part of it that’s not merely disastrous but also depressing is just the sense that if we don’t do something different, we’re just gonna be in this Groundhog Day where something like this is going to repeat in 2024, or throughout the rest of this decade,” Thiel during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute on Tuesday.
Having kept a low profile throughout the 2020 cycle, Thiel put his own money behind candidates including venture capitalists J.D. Vance in Ohio and Blake Masters in Arizona, with only the former succeeding in election to the upper chamber.
Thiel described his own comments as “free advice for the Republican party," explaining that the GOP had been “structurally” set a blowout victory based on issues like inflation and rising gas prices.
“If you can’t sort of win in that kind of a context, how are you ever going to win?” Thiel asked, adding that the GOP failed to put forward a “substantive agenda” and ran a “discombobulated” campaign nationwide.
“Diversity was more of a weakness than a strength in our party,” he said, comparing the party to the “ragtag rebel alliance” from the iconic Star Wars film franchise.
Thiel brought up figures such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) as reasons for the party's failure.
“There was sort of a Mitch McConnell intuition that you shouldn’t talk about anything substantive at all, sort of a nihilistic, maybe a passive-aggressive form of nihilism or something like that … which is kind of uninspiring,” he said. “And then there was maybe his sort of a opposite problem, something like the detailed Paul Ryan policy wonkery, where you go into a lot of details, but somehow the ideas are unpopular and you’re checkmate on move one.”
Thiel's comments come amid a period of internal discord within the party following the disappointing results that saw the GOP capture the House of Representatives by a razor-thin majority and lose ground in the Senate.
Many Republicans are now actively calling for the resignation of RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, who has held the role for six years. Among those seeking to replace her include the conservative lawyer Harmeet Dhillon and the MyPillow entrepreneur Mike Lindell.