Can a political novice who might be considered a member of the elite run as a right-wing populist and win a competitive GOP primary? J.D. Vance’s recent victory in the tightly contested Republican Senate Primary in Ohio suggested the answer is yes.
Vance’s triumph no doubt encouraged Blake Masters—a novice running as a right-wing populist in Arizona’s GOP Senate primary. Like Vance, Masters rails against an elite class and culture of which he himself is a product.
The 35-year-old Masters doesn’t share Vance’s hillbilly roots. A graduate of Stanford Law School, successful author and venture capitalist, and the protégé of billionaire investor Peter Thiel, he is a member of the elite by any definition of the term. Masters was until recently chief operating officer of Thiel Capital and president of the Thiel Foundation. Since 2018, he has worked from his hometown of Tucson, Ariz., where he lives with his wife, Catherine, whom he met in middle school, and their three young boys.
In short, Masters seems to have a pretty great life. So why is he even running for the US Senate?