It’s not his most offensive idea (deporting 11 million people) or his most impractical (The Wall), but nominating Peter Thiel to the Supreme Court, which Trump reportedly wants to do, may very well be his worst.
Citing two sources who requested anonymity because of Trump and Thiel’s shared love of vengeance, The Huffington Post reports that Thiel has told friends that Trump has told him that he will be nominated to the Supreme Court if Trump wins the presidency. Thiel has also claimed that Trump’s “inner circle” has discussed Thiel as a Supreme Court nominee. This is both terrifying and deeply stupid.
Thiel is, like Trump, a dangerous and vindictive opponent of the First Amendment. Thiel is now at least as famous for having successfully bankrupted Gawker as he is for founding the world’s most unwieldy online payment system.
Thiel’s crusade against Gawker not only created a new way for billionaires to stifle the press, but also reflected his deeply felt opposition to democracy itself. In 2009, as HuffPo notes, Thiel wrote: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,” arguing that the culprits were the expansion of welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the right to vote for women. (Thiel later claimed he did not want to take the vote away from anyone.)
The Economist has since stopped referring to Thiel as a libertarian, and instead calls him a “corporate Nietzschean.” As Sam Biddle wrote in The Intercept before Thiel addressed the RNC in July, “He continues to rail against government programs like Medicare and Social Security. Meanwhile, he is chairman and co-founder of Palantir Technologies, a mass-surveillance-software company that makes a good deal of its money selling to the government. ... Thiel is inexplicably, pro-monopoly.”
Perhaps inspired by Thiel’s revenge plot against Gawker, Trump has promised that, if he wins, he will “open up” libel laws to make lawsuits against the press easier. Thiel on the Supreme Court may be Trump’s worst idea, but it’s still a perfect marriage.