Peter Thiel gave Mitt Romney some prescient advice in 2012 -- and was ignored


Back in 2012, before Peter Thiel supported Donald Trump's quest to become president, the billionaire tech investor gave sharp advice to presidential candidate Mitt Romney — and was apparently ignored.

"I think the most pessimistic candidate is going to win, because if you are too optimistic it suggests you are out of touch," Thiel told Romney, as reported in George Packer's "The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America."

PHOTOS: Peter Thiel through the years

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Peter Thiel through the years
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Peter Thiel through the years
Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Portrait of Peter Thiel, a tech investor, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, fund manager and co-founder of Paypal, taken at his San Francisco office of the Founder's Fund. (Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)
Portrait of Peter Thiel, a tech investor, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, fund manager and co-founder of Paypal, taken at his San Francisco office of the Founder's Fund. (Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)
SQUAWK BOX -- Pictured: Peter Thiel, American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and hedge fund manager. Thiel also co-founded PayPal with Max Levchin and Elon Musk and served as its CEO; he is pictured here in an interview on September 17, 2014 -- (Photo by: Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 12: Peter Thiel speaks onstage at Peter Thiel: You Are Not A Lottery Ticket during the 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 12, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jordan Naylor/Getty Images for SXSW)
BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 27: (CHINA OUT) Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal Inc., speaks during a forum themed on entrepreneurship and investment at China National Convention Center on February 27, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
Peter Thiel, head of Clarium Capital Management LLC and founding investor in PayPal Inc. and Facebook Inc., listens during the LendIt USA 2016 conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Thiel discussed his outlook for the tech industry. Photographer: Noah Berger/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Partner at Founders Fund Peter Thiel participates in a panel discussion at the New York Times 2015 DealBook Conference at the Whitney Museum of American Art on November 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Times)
BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 27: (CHINA OUT) Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal Inc., speaks during a forum themed on entrepreneurship and investment at China National Convention Center on February 27, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Thiel's point was that most of America didn't share the rosy view found in Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Instead of simply telling people that President Barack Obama was incompetent, he said, a challenger should say the country was broken and needed major change.

But Romney didn't get it.

Wrote Packer: "He assumed that the more optimistic candidate would always win. He assumed that things were still fundamentally working."

And the rest is history. Romney lost, and Trump came out with a shockingly pessimistic campaign — daring to say that America wasn't great anymore — and won.

If you're wondering why Thiel keeps supporting Republicans, check out our report on Thiel's philosophy.

NOW WATCH: Watch Peter Thiel tell the RNC audience that he's proud to be gay and Republican

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