You can't send the boy back to the algorithm farm once he's experienced the thrill of throwing a human grenade into the center of American democracy...especially when everyone on the farm thinks he's become a radical agent for the alt-right white power agenda.
According to Bloomberg, Robert Mercer will step down from his co-CEO role at Renaissance Technologies at the beginning of 2018, allowing him to spend more time bankrolling the alt-right revolution in American politics and investing more deeply in crackpot urine-based science. For most people, retiring at age 71 would be a just reward, but for Bob Mercer it's a "self"-imposed "punishment" for gaining too much notoriety while running a place that despises notoriety.
A memo from Mercer to the RenTech rank and file was just posted on Twitter, and it is pretty fascinating.
Mercer seems to feel misunderstood. He's almost upset that his radically populist anti-government breed of conservatism has been perceived as even in the same basket as white supremacism, despite being a key financial backer of the very operations that joined the two movements in the first place. He appears to convey a sense of intellectual betrayal in his relationships with Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannnopolous, neither of whom have ever appeared to the general public as anything other than crystal clear on their rather radical views. Mercer's statement on his relationship with Breitbart indicates that he has come to see the publication as too racist for his own taste, but something his daughters really enjoy and are still eager to support monetarily.
It's the statement of a man uncomfortable giving statements.
But what is most intriguing to us is the general sense that Mercer is throwing himself onto a dull sword for the sake of the cultishly insular firm that is RenTech. He refers to Jim Simons in reverential terms and attempts to separate his personal views from those of RenTech. It's no secret that Mercer had a very public spat with one RenTech employee over political beliefs, and it stands to reason that even normcore conservatives working at the fund have been less than thrilled with who Mercer has been aligning himself with in the last few years. But RenTech is also the rarest of hedge funds; an actively-passively-managed profit machine operated by uber-quants that doesn't really have to answer to clients. So Bob Mercer is essentially apologizing to RenTech itself and abdicating his share of the throne as sacrifice.
Now, we're just thinking for ourselves here, but it also feels like Jim Simons and Peter Brown had some impact on Mercer's decision. The public perception of Mercer as "Alt-Right Hedge Fund Billionaire" had finally grown too irksome to the people who operated the hedge fund that made him a billionaire.
What we've learned today is that Bob Mercer, a suddenly infamous man deeply discomfited by the public spotlight, has been quietly forced to stop doing the one thing in his life that doesn't attract real attention.