In a tweet that shocked absolutely no one, Elon Musk instructed his sycophants to vote Republican in the midterm elections. The man who took over a company and immediately fired its board of directors and half its staff argued to his followers that “shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties.”
To independent-minded voters:
Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic.
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— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
The call to action comes after Musk tweeted in April, around the time he first teased purchasing the platform, that Twitter should remain “politically neutral” in order to earn “public trust.”
For Twitter to deserve public trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2022
Musk has been rubbing elbows with prominent conservatives seeking to have a hand in the way he reshapes the social media platforms. The Tesla billionaire promised drastic changes to the manner in which content and safety standards are enforced on Twitter, under the guise of restoring “free speech” and combatting censorship. Musk’s takeover resulted in a wave of hate speech on the platform, spooking advertisers who have now been encouraged by civil society groups to pull ads until Musk delivers on reassurances that the website would not become a “free-for-all-hellscape” following his takeover.
Meanwhile, the billionaire seems to be taking cues regarding the future of the platform from conservative pundits and influencers, who are taking advantage of Musk’s obsession with checking his mentions to tag him in their complaints. On Monday, Musk responded to conservative judicial activist Tom Fitton, indicating he thinks he has grounds to file tort suits against “activists” calling for advertiser boycotts against him. He told conservative organizer Mike Davis on Friday that he was preparing to carry out a “thermonuclear name & shame” against critics and organizers calling for boycotts. He also agreed with far-right influencer Ian Miles Cheong that it was time to “stop appeasing activists” calling for the platform to maintain content moderation policies.
Some on the right claim Musk has directly extended a hand toward their case. Arizona secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem credited Musk with reinstating his accounts hours after his supporters bombarded Musk with petitions claiming Finchem was being censored and suppressed by the platform. Finchem has promised not to concede if he loses Tuesday’s general election against Democrat Adrian Fontes.
Musk’s overtures to right-wingers are not a new development. He announced that he had voted Republican for the first time earlier this year, tweeting that he had “voted for Mayra Flores – first time I ever voted Republican,” and predicting a “Massive red wave in 2022.” Musk also recently moved from California to Texas, posturing the change as the “last straw” regarding California’s Covid restrictions.
Flores has aligned herself with the QAnon conspiracy theory, and scores of the Republican candidates Musk wants his followers to vote for on Tuesday have peddled lies about the 2020 election. His push to put the party in control of Congress seems to be at odds with his vision for the future of the platform he now owns. “Twitter needs to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world,” he tweeted Sunday night. “That’s our mission.”
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