On Monday morning, a day before the midterm elections on Tuesday, the Twitter owner tweeted that “shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic”.
“Hardcore Democrats or Republicans never vote for the other side, so independent voters are the ones who actually decide who’s in charge!” he added.
Twitter users were quick to criticise Mr Musk.
“I’m an independent, and I’m voting straight blue down the ticket this year… Republicans have gone insane!” William LeGate responded.
“Voting Republican isn’t actually *being* a Republican... that’s icky. Just say you’re ‘independent-minded,’ and that you have a fifth-grade understanding of civics but the smugness of a creepy billionaire!” Emma Vigeland tweeted.
“So I’m guessing Musk is recommending voting against Gov DeSantis to curb Florida’s legislature, which will most likely continue to be Republican-controlled,” University of Florida professor Michael McDonald wrote sarcastically, linking to an article about Mr Musk “leaning” towards supporting Mr DeSantis for president.
“In all seriousness, I’ve heard this nonsense from several wealthy ‘owner-operators’ who are ticket splitters and big donors, and it’s the most shallow understanding of how our political system works and wildly ignorant of the asymmetries between parties,” progressive digital strategist Elizabeth Spiers said. “I realize it does no good to yell ‘read a book’ at insanely rich people, but if I had Elon’s money, I’d hire people who have actual expertise on these things and actually listen to them occasionally.”
“It makes perfect sense from the point of view of very wealthy people who want the government to do as little as possible,” Sean Ernst responded to Ms Spiers.
“And want just enough Rs in power to ensure they get a maximalist friendly-to-wealth tax policy,” she said.
“This dude was posting ‘Paul Pelosi was attacked by his gay lover’ conspiracy theories a week ago and now he wants you to believe that he cares about [the] balance of power and not that he’s an alt-right shit poster. At least have some guts man and admit it,” a Biden-supporting account tweeted.
Democratic Minnesota Senator Tina Smith wrote: “‘Corporate billionaire seeks Republican Congress.’ Wow! Surprising! Could not have seen it coming…”
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan wrote that “in 2018, Elon Musk rightly declared that ‘climate change is the biggest threat that humanity faces this century.’ Four years later, Musk says: vote for the climate change deniers to block any action on climate change! Sheesh”.
BBC North America correspondent Anthony Zurcher posed a number of questions in response to Mr Musk.
“Will he endorse a Democrat for president in 2024 if Republicans take control of Congress this year? Does he want independent voters to opt for Democrats at the state level in places like Texas, where the governor is Republican?” he asked.
Law professor Lawrence Lessig tweeted that “shared power in the American democracy means that nothing gets done. So this is a super-smart recommendation from the-genius-who-knows-everything if you think that there’s nothing our government should do. #hecannotbethisstupid”.
“Republicans will do to democracy what Elon did to Twitter,” the Lincoln Project wrote.
Bill Kristol, a conservative writer who served as the chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quale between 1989 and 1993, began his tweet with the same words as Mr Musk.
“To independent-minded voters: A commitment to truth, decency, and the rule of law curbs the worst excesses of partisan zealotry and demagoguery. Therefore I generally recommend voting for Democrats, given that today’s GOP is not committed to truth, decency, and the rule of law,” he wrote.
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