Americans are used to multibillionaires like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg favoring progressive policies and the Democratic Party. Yet Elon Musk — the wealthiest of them all — recently surprised the nation by announcing that he is voting Republican.
Musk — the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, as well as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year — is worth $215 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Amid his rise to become the richest man in the world, one of Musk’s primary obstacles has been leftist lawmakers and their agendas.
In the spring of 2020, Musk grew increasingly frustrated as government lockdowns prevented the reopening of his companies. In California, lawmakers refused to allow a major Tesla factory to reopen, leading Musk to weigh moving the company’s headquarters to Texas — which, of course, he eventually did.
“Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately,” Musk tweeted. “If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen [sic] on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”
Musk devoted significant time and energy to refuting the mentality behind the lockdowns. “The expansion of shelter-in-place, or as we call it, forcibly imprisoning people in their homes, against all their constitutional rights, is, in my opinion, breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong, and not why people came to America and built this country,” he argued during a Tesla earnings call. “This is not democratic. This is not freedom. … Everything people have worked for all their lives is being destroyed in real time. I think the people are going to be very angry about this and are very angry.”
As Musk continued to balk at the draconian policies, he encouraged other Americans to “take the red pill.” The phrase — which comes from a moment in “The Matrix” where main character Neo opts to take a pill allowing him to see reality despite being force-fed a lie throughout his entire life — also refers to liberals beginning to reject leftist narratives. Indeed, Musk noticed that the Left is “losing the middle” of the political spectrum.
Over the next several months, Musk began vocally opposing Democratic officials and debunking key elements of their agendas.
As President Joe Biden assumed office and introduced the Build Back Better Act — a package that would have expanded federal social programs, such as universal preschool, childcare subsidies, and climate change initiatives — Musk actively argued against the legislation. “I would say can this bill, don’t pass it. That’s my recommendation,” he argued during The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit. “If this bill happens or doesn’t happen, we don’t think about it at all really. Honestly it might be better if the bill doesn’t pass.”
Musk also used a line that originated with economist Milton Friedman, and which President Ronald Reagan often borrowed: “Nothing is more permanent than a ‘temporary’ government program.”
The world’s richest man is no supporter of President Biden. While the White House has frequently praised the efforts of Ford and GM, Tesla — the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer — has often been omitted. The snubbing may be due to the fact that Tesla is not unionized, as former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki hinted last year when she was asked why Tesla was not invited to an electric vehicle summit in which the other two companies participated.
During his most recent State of the Union address, Biden nodded to Ford and its manufacturing efforts. “Ford is investing $11B to build electric vehicles — creating 11,000 jobs across the country,” read a post from Biden’s Twitter account as the State of the Union speech concluded. “GM is making the largest investment in its history — $7B to build electric vehicles, creating 4,000 jobs in Michigan.”
“Tesla has created over 50,000 US jobs building electric vehicles & is investing more than double GM + Ford combined,” Musk responded as an “fyi to person controlling this twitter.”
Indeed, Musk has often referenced Biden’s apparent senility. After Biden stumbled through remarks provided to him via teleprompter, Musk commented with a meme from the movie “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” which showed the film’s main character struggling to use a teleprompter. “Whoever controls the teleprompter is the real President!” Musk added.
Musk’s disdain extends to Democratic legislators. For instance, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asserted on Twitter that the “rigged tax code” ought to be changed so that the multibillionaire will “stop freeloading off everyone else.”
Musk replied with a series of knockout blows. First, he suggested that Warren “stop projecting” and linked to a Fox News opinion piece entitled “Elizabeth Warren is a fraud — Her lies about being Native American disqualify her from presidency, Senate.” Then, he said Warren reminds him of “when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.” And finally: “please don’t call the manager on me, Senator Karen.”
Musk also said that he had paid over $11 billion in taxes — possibly the most any individual has paid in a single year. Apparently, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) was not satisfied; she parroted the notion that it is “long overdue that the richest of the rich pay their fair share.”
When Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) likewise called for a billionaires’ income tax, Musk responded in a far less mature way: “Why does ur pp look like u just came?” When Wyden pushed for a tax on unrealized capital gains, Musk said that “eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.”
Beyond the halls of Congress and the White House, Musk also established himself as a leading voice against wokeness on Wall Street.
Musk has repeatedly condemned American companies’ efforts to make businesses more “socially conscious” through the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) movement — an investment and management philosophy that seeks to promote progressive causes in addition to maximizing shareholder returns. Under the guise of promoting equity, companies emphasize their use of green energy, seek contracts with LGBTQ suppliers, or otherwise arrange their operations such that producing shareholder value is tied to a leftist agenda.
When entrepreneur Marc Andreessen blasted ESG funds’ willingness to “make the weapons required to fight wars with hostile regimes we buy energy from” and simultaneous refusal to invest in energy companies, Musk argued that “ESG rules have been twisted to insanity.” The vast majority of Americans happen to agree — by a two-to-one margin, Americans want companies they invest in to seek profits instead of promoting political causes outside of their missions, according to an Echelon Insights poll conducted on behalf of The Daily Wire.
Even with respect to social policy, Musk has held positions aligned with many on the Right. As conservatives like Ohio Senate candidate JD Vance offer policies centered upon incentivizing parenthood, Musk has called for societies around the world to avoid population collapses by having more children.
“I think one of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birthrate and the rapidly declining birthrate,” Musk explained at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit last year. “And yet, so many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control. It’s completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers — if people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble, mark my words.”
Musk told the world that the United Nations’ population predictions are “utter nonsense” and warned that Japan will “cease to exist” as people stop having children. With respect to China — which only recently reversed its infamous One Child Policy — Musk pointed out that the communist nation had its lowest birth rate in history last year.
As more evidence built in his mind, Musk finally announced that he would vote for Republicans for the first time in his life — exactly two years after he advised his fellow Americans to “take the red pill.”
“I have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, historically,” Musk acknowledged. “Like I’m not sure, I might never have voted for a Republican, just to be clear. Now this election, I will.”
“I support free speech, but not any one candidate,” Musk added. “In fact, I gave money to & voted for Hillary & then voted for Biden. However, given unprovoked attacks by leading Democrats against me & a very cold shoulder to Tesla & SpaceX, I intend to vote Republican in November.”
Musk kept his word by casting his ballot for Mayra Flores, a Republican who beat Democrat Dan Sanchez in a special House of Representatives election in southern Texas. Beyond serving as the first congresswoman born in Mexico, Flores is the first Republican to win a seat from her portion of the Rio Grande Valley since 1870. “I voted for Mayra Flores — first time I ever voted Republican,” Musk remarked. “Massive red wave in 2022.” When asked about who he was likely to support in the 2024 presidential election, Musk responded, “DeSantis.”
Though he stands out from other billionaires in his decision to support conservatives, Musk by no means stands out from the typical American. Along with millions of fellow businessowners, Musk despised the government lockdowns that rendered operations nearly impossible. Along with millions of fellow voters, Musk is raising his eyebrows at the radical Left as it continues to fall out of touch with the American people.
As the midterm elections approach in a few short months, Musk will certainly not be the only disgruntled centrist at the ballot box.