Elon Musk is definitely not a CEO like the others.
He seems to flout traditions.
He shakes up the norms and seems to want to completely shake up the system and get rid of the status quo. The billionaire wants above all to create his own rules, rules that he will no doubt shape according to what suits him.
There is a tradition that the leaders of large corporations remain neutral on political matters because the consumers of their products are as much Republicans or conservatives as they are Democrats or progressives.
This old, widely shared tradition is often verified by the fact that companies often encourage their employees to donate to the two major political parties unless the interests of the sector are really endangered by one of the two camps. But generally, the watchword is not to insult the future as things move quickly in politics.
And when the bosses do engage politically it is often on a particular issue or a particular subject that is close to the heart of some of their employees. We saw it with Tim Cook, Apple’s (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report CEO, who spoke against the adoption of anti-LGBTQ+ laws in certain states.
“As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am deeply concerned about laws being enacted across the country, particularly those focused on our vulnerable youth,” Cook posted on Twitter on March 10. “I stand with them and the families, loved ones, and allies who support them.”
But rare are the CEOs who clearly say what their political color is. They often tend to say that there is good in conservatives as well as in progressives.
But Musk is atypical. He doesn’t see himself as just the CEO of electric vehicle maker Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report. Musk wants to be seen as the greatest visionary of the current century. He promised to save the planet from pollution and to conquer Mars. He promises us a machine into which we could download our personalities and our brains.
So atypical. Musk has just proved it once again by clearly indicating what his political position is. In a post on Twitter, he describes his political journey since 2008, when Barack Obama won the presidential election against John McCain.
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Musk tweeted this drawing which represents three characters: one to the left representing Democrats, one to the right representing Republicans and a third character who happens to be Musk between the two.
In 2008, Musk explained that he was close to the ideas of the liberal and very far from the conservative. He was well to the left and well away from the centre. We can therefore logically conclude that he was voting for the Democrats at the time.
To contextualize, it is also a period during which Tesla was trying to convince people of the need to invest in less polluting cars as the financial crisis raged. Musk became CEO of Tesla the same year. In 2009, General Motors (GM) – Get General Motors Company Report and Chrysler (STLA) – Get Stellantis N.V. Report went bankrupt.
Musk is Now Close to Conservatives
But in 2012, there seems to be a divide. Musk explains, according to his drawing, that the liberal he felt close to in 2008 began to radicalize and be more left-wing than ever. Consequently, Musk, who stayed in the same place in the drawing, was relatively closer to the conservative. He still stayed away from the conservatives but less than four years earlier. Basically, he seems to mean that it was not he who changed but the Democrats who were pushed to their left by the progressives of the party. We can, however, conclude that that year the richest man in the world had voted for the Democrats. It is also the year of the re-election of Barack Obama.
From 2012 to 2021, it’s a real political change. The tech tycoon seems to say that the Democrats have radicalized to become what he calls the “woke progressive”. It also seems to say that this extremism of the liberals has also pulled the political center farther left, leaving him in the right wing camp.
Equally striking is that Musk seems to be saying Republicans haven’t budged one iota. Their positions, according to Musk’s drawing, appear not to have become radicalized. We can therefore imagine that Musk will probably vote for the Republicans during the upcoming mid-terms. Musk’s graphic seems to deny studies and press articles also describing a radicalization of the Republican Party led by extremist elements.
It’s noteworthy that the billionaire does not mention two election cycles: 2016 and 2020.
The announcement of the political positioning of the richest man in the world comes at a time when many concerns are emerging following his pending acquisition of the social network Twitter (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. Report for $44 billion.
Many fear that many voices will be silenced by a Twitter controlled by Musk because the billionaire said that said his Twitter would be “authenticating all humans,” as TheStreet’s Riley Gutierez McDermid reported.
“What would concern me most would be if everyone had to authenticate their identity with Twitter,” Jeff Kosseff, an associate professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy said.
Musk has indicated that his decision to buy Twitter is due to the fact that he is concerned with the fundamental principle of free speech.