how his vote has changed over time

Formerly a liberal, Elon Musk has made a right turn in recent years after several confrontations with the Democrats.

Elon Musk, November 21, 2019 in Hawthorne (California) ©BelgaImage

A week ago, Elon Musk’s decision was made: yes, he did restore Donald Trump’s Twitter account. A preferential treatment which could be perceived as an adhesion of the boss of Tesla to trumpism. And yet, this November 26, it is not him that he will publicly support for the next presidential election. On November 26, 2022, he replied to a Republican Internet user asking him “Would you support Ron DeSantis in 2024?“.”Yes“, simply replies the founder of SpaceX. Elon Musk thus confirms his attraction to the elephant party. But it has not always been so. In eight years, he is even more of a real political weather vane.

Raised in a liberal, anti-apartheid environment

Until 2002, Elon Musk could not vote in the United States for the simple reason that he was not American. He was indeed born into a wealthy family in South Africa, where he spent his childhood. A youth among the white elite and yet, his father, Errol, was an elected representative of the progressive party in Pretoria, the administrative capital of the country. This liberal formation was known for its anti-apartheid positions, which placed it on the left of the white parties. Interviewed by the New York Times, Errol said his children, including Elon, knew from a young age that apartheid was a questionable system, despite growing up in an environment where anti-black propaganda was omnipresent.

At the age of 10, Elon’s parents separated and their tense relationship forced him to follow his mother sometimes to Durban, sometimes his father to Pretoria, not to mention an education at Bryanston High School in Johannesburg where he was the victim of harassment. . A complicated period which leads him to integrate the school campus of Pretoria Boys. One of his classmates in the capital, Mr Beney, said he had imbibed the school’s ideology there. “I think his ideas on free speech are very classic liberal and unnuanced“, he says to the New York daily.

Visibly little attached to his native country, Elon Musk then left for Canada, where his mother was born, just after graduating from the Pretoria Boys. He arrives at Queen’s University, in Ontario, but his real goal is to go to the United States. After two years, he succeeded in making his dream a reality and landed at the University of Pennsylvania. His end-of-study internships took him to Silicon Valley, near San Francisco, right during the Internet bubble. Inspired, this is where he will settle once he graduates, in order to ride the wave that will make him the businessman we know today.

A former Democrat who has become very critical of the liberals

Having become a billionaire thanks to SpaceX and Tesla, he has repeatedly expressed his political affinities. He says he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and backed candidate Andrew Yang in the 2020 Democratic primaries. He later said he voted for Joe Biden in November 2020. So he seemed closer to liberals than conservatives, at least at this point. that time.

In recent years, however, Elon Musk has gradually moved away from the liberals. In 2020, he took a first step to the right by briefly supporting the candidacy of Kanye West. He then vilified the health restrictions linked to the coronavirus and which had a strong impact on the production of his factories. An anti-Covid policy that prompted him to move Tesla’s headquarters from Palo Alto (California) to Austin (Texas) in 2021. Just before that, in 2020, he had already moved his own home from California to Texas, a conservative stronghold. To explain this change, he claimed that the California state, led by the Democrats, had become an obstacle to his economic success.

To read: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk … These billionaires who snub the taxman

Another contentious issue between Elon Musk and Democrats: the desire of some party members to create a tax on billionaires. For example, he violently opposes Bernie Sanders in 2021. He also increasingly criticizes Twitter’s moderation policy which, following the invasion of the Capitol, deleted the accounts of many conservatives, including Donald Trump. Over time, the takeover of the social network takes shape in order to reverse the trend. A goal that has come true in recent weeks.

Read: Elon Musk announces reinstatement of suspended Twitter accounts

Joining the Republican Clan

Far from being content to criticize the Democrats, Elon Musk is also showing more and more clearly his direct support for the Republicans. In 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott claims Tesla boss “love social policies” of his state, which was then operating a hardening of its law on access to abortion. He was also very close to Kevin McCarthy, who should become the next speaker of the House of Representatives.

This year, the businessman continued his conservative turn. He first asserts that he can no longer support the Democrats, who, according to him, represent “the party of division and hatred“. In a tweet, he encourages “independent-minded voters” to vote Republican in the 2022 Midterms. Finally, today, he confirms his new political color by supporting Donald Trump’s main rival in the Republican primary, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. According to the latest polls, the ex The president remains in front of him, unless they find themselves face to face, without additional candidates.Two polls published in November then give Ron DeSantis at 42-45%, against 35-42% for Donald Trump.

Is this political reversal of Elon Musk mainly the result of a pragmatic choice, linked to his economic interests, or is it a real ideological change? In any case, his change in behavior also has consequences within his own family. Last June, it turned out that one of his children, born as Xavier Alexander Musk, wanted to change his gender and give up not only his first name but also his name. Her name is now Vivian Jenna Wilson. “I no longer want to be associated with my father in any form“, she claimed. In October, Elon Musk told the Financial Times that his daughter’s estrangement was due to “neo-marxists” from his school environment, using the popular lexicon within the Republican Party.

To read: A child of Elon Musk wants to change his name to cut all ties with his father

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