From the New York Times:
Peter Thiel’s Embrace of Trump Has Silicon Valley Squirming Farhad Manjoo STATE OF THE ART JULY 20, 2016Let’s reread that part again:
When the technology investor Peter Thiel takes the stage just before Donald J. Trump at the Republican convention this week, he will become the most prominent public face of a species so endangered it might as well be called extinct: the Silicon Valley Trump supporter.
Nobody knows what Mr. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, will say (he declined an interview), but in the tech industry, his appearance at the convention is being greeted with more apprehension than excitement. …
On the other hand, this could end quite badly.
Mr. Thiel, who was last in the news for his financial support of Hulk Hogan’s legal fight against Gawker Media, has a slate of political views that stand out of line with most in tech, and perhaps most Americans. He once wrote that “the 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics.” After that, he suggested, things went south because, among other things, women were given the right to vote. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s views — on issues including immigration, encryption, antitrust regulation and free trade — as well as his overall tone and temperament have been met with steely opposition by many in tech.
The danger, then, is that not only could Mr. Thiel’s public embrace of Mr. Trump backfire on him, but it could also become another plot point in the larger story line that Silicon Valley is exclusionary and narrow-minded and that its innovations are advancing global inequality.
What’s more, the speech could spoil what had been growing areas of overlap between the Republicans and the tech industry. In the Obama years, much of Silicon Valley has become very close to Democrats. This year there was an opportunity for a Republican to make overtures to tech — but with Mr. Trump, that chance seems to have passed.
“Where Trump has stood on immigration reform, or how he called for a boycott of Apple, or on a number of other issues, it almost seems like he’s gone out of his way to smite Silicon Valley leaders on the issues they care about,” said Mason Harrison, a Silicon Valley Republican who has worked for several presidential campaigns, including Mitt Romney’s and John McCain’s. Mr. Harrison said he would vote this year for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. …
A bigger problem than Mr. Trump’s policy ideas was his tone. Though Silicon Valley has well-known problems with diversity in its work force, people here pride themselves on a kind of militant open-mindedness. It is the kind of place that will severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thought — see how Brendan Eich, the former chief executive of Mozilla, was run out of his job after it became public that he had donated to a campaign opposed to gay marriage. Mr. Trump’s comments about immigrants, women and so many other groups have made him a kind of kryptonite in Silicon Valley.
people here pride themselves on a kind of militant open-mindedness. It is the kind of place that will severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thoughtHow much more open-minded can you get than that?