A valuable endorsement for DeSantis?
On June 15, the controversial and outspoken technology entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX - Elon Musk - was asked on Twitter who he was leaning towards voting for in the 2024 presidential election. His answer? Ron DeSantis.
Musk has been in the news a lot in recent weeks, most notably for his ongoing attempt to buy Twitter. But in May, he also attracted a lot of publicity when he announced on the social media platform that he would be voting Republican in future. Musk shared that he now viewed the Democrats as a party of division and hate.
Since then, while his purchase of Twitter now appears to be faltering, his shift in allegiance to the Republican party seems to have gained momentum. His recent declaration that he would vote for Florida's Governor DeSantis in the next presidential election seems to suggest he's doubling down on his previous decision.
DeSantis has "a better chance of winning"?
When pressed on his rationale for the statement, and when asked what he though of Andrew Yang - the Democrat-turned-Independent politician, Musk expressed that in his view, DeSantis is the more likely winner of the 2024 election, over rivals like Yang (who Musk previously supported):
Musk's views seem increasingly to reflect those of Republican voters across the United States. A recent poll carried out at the Western Conservative Summit - amongst Republican voters far away from Florida - put DeSantis far in the lead from former president Donald Trump at 71% to 67% as the preferred Republican presidential candidate. Three weeks earlier, DeSantis also beat Trump in a straw poll carried out in Wisconsin.
These polls reflect DeSantis' growing popularity amongst Republicans throughout the United States. Musk - who in late 2021 relocated himself and Tesla's U.S. base from California to Texas - carries a huge amount of influence with his 98 million+ followers on Twitter, and more widely. His endorsement of DeSantis could have wide reaching effects.
Governor DeSantis was also revealed to have raised over $124 million in his political campaign fund to the end of May. Attracting the positive attention of Musk - the richest man in the world - could result in access to even greater funding.
Ties with Florida
The 2024 presidential election is still a long way off, and Governor DeSantis has yet to formally declare his interest in the role, in spite of having made many hints about it.
Nonetheless, it's clear that Musk has a great deal of interest in Florida, given that his SpaceX corporation launches its rockets from within the sunshine state and has assembly factories also within Florida. His interests don't seem to just be in relation to Florida's role in the space industry, and as a confirmed Republican he's clearly drawn to the prevailing politics of the state too.
If his purchase of Twitter ever completes, it may also change Governor DeSantis' opinion on attracting Twitter to relocate to Florida. He has previously stated that attracting more Californian companies and their employees who often hold liberal political opinions, is "not high" on Florida's list of priorities. That could perhaps change with Elon Musk in control?
Do you think that people like Elon Musk who influence so many others, should be more reserved about making such political statements? Or do you think it's a positive sign for Ron DeSantis? Let me know in the comments section below.