The Masters campaign declined to comment for this article. Mr. Masters’s adviser, Katie Miller, grew impatient when I told her I was hoping to trace his intellectual journey from libertarianism to Trumpism, telling me she didn’t want another hit job trying to link Mr. Masters to the “alt-right.” No doubt Ms. Miller and Mr. Masters will dismiss the analysis above as guilt by association, too. Sure, Mr. Thiel and Mr. Yarvin are Mr. Masters’s friends and donors; that doesn’t mean he shares all their beliefs.
Mr. Masters, for his part, has insisted that if elected, he won’t be Mr. Thiel’s puppet. “I’ll hear him out because he’s smart,” he told Politico. “And I’ll take some votes that piss him off.” (It’s not clear which votes those might be. But Mr. Masters has said, despite having teared up at Mr. Thiel and his husband’s wedding in 2017, that he believes the Supreme Court erred in its Obergefell decision and that marriage ought to be “between a man and a woman.”)
In any case, it may not matter if Mr. Masters has some bonkers ideas; one senator with monarchist sympathies does not a counterrevolution make.
Just as socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were elected on transformative platforms only to find themselves bogged down in the daily muck of legislating, surrounded by adherents to status quo policy and norms, this new crop of right-wing militants may likewise resign themselves to largely symbolic dissenting votes, Twitter provocation and media spectacle. (I, for one, would happily watch Blake Masters read from the Unabomber manifesto while preparing a casserole on Instagram Live.)
Then again, unlike the Democrats, who hastily sidelined Ms. Ocasio-Cortez as soon as she entered Congress, the Republican Party — belligerent, on the march, but deprived of an undisputed standard-bearer — may be more inclined to take leadership cues from young ideologues like Mr. Masters, who will enter office with a governing vision more coherent and radical than anything Mr. Trump espoused.
Already, Mr. Masters’s campaign is more embedded and on better terms with his party elite than left-wing insurgents were with the Democrats. His campaign manager, Amalia Halikias, was a press assistant for Jeb Bush in 2016. Despite the populist noises he occasionally makes on the trail, Mr. Masters is endorsed by the anti-tax billionaires of the Club for Growth PAC. Ms. Miller was Mike Pence’s press secretary and, later, communications director; she’s married to the senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller.