Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, urged Americans to elect a Republican Congress in U.S. midterms on Tuesday to countervail President Joe Biden’s Democrats, marking the first time a major social media CEO specifically took a side. On Monday, Musk said in a tweet to his more than 110 million followers, “Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic.”
Republicans are most likely to win a majority within the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s elections, with the Senate rated a toss-up by nonpartisan election forecasters. Democrats currently control both houses.
Musk, the world’s richest person and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, took over Twitter after a $44 billion deal last month and has engaged in sudden desperate measures such as sacking half of the workforce including the company’s top liaison and a plan to monetise the blue check verification marks.
His autocratic stance on free speech has led some groups to warn against an increase in misinformation and some advertisers to pause their spending. A crackdown on parody accounts impersonating Musk prompted Twitter to suspend comedian Kathy Griffin.
Later, Musk added in his tweet, “I’m open to the idea of voting Democrat again in the future” and said he had historically been an independent who had voted for Democrats.
Musk has often criticised the Biden government and Democrats for their manifestos to tax billionaires and them giving more tax incentives to union-made electric vehicles. There are no Tesla unions at U.S. factories.
Republicans could use a majority in either chamber to bring Biden’s agenda to a halt and launch potentially politically damaging investigations into Biden’s administration and family.
Kyle Kondik, from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said it is quite unlikely for Musk’s words to influence the election’s outcome. Kondik said, “”It’s hard to expect any sort of celebrity ‘endorsement,’ as this basically is, to have much if any effect on voter behaviour.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reacted to Musk’s comments by saying: “The President has often spoken about the importance of voting, and I’m just going to leave it there as to not get involved in any kind of election conversation.”
Newt Gingrich, Former Republican Speaker of the House, described Musk’s comments as “very encouraging.”