Twitter owner Musk backs U.S. midterm Republicans

  • Biden’s Democrats in an uphill battle to retain control of Congress
  • Musk’s comments unlikely to have an effect on voter behavior – analyst

Nov 7 (Reuters) – Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has thrown his weight behind Republicans ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. mid Road elections, saying they could use congressional scrutiny to counterbalance President Joe Biden’s Democrats.

The world’s richest person, Musk, has come under fire from some groups who believe his absolutist stance on free speech will increase misinformation on Twitter. Some advertisers have drawn expenses of the platform, with Musk blaming critics concerned about content moderation.

His tweet to more than 110 million followers on Monday marked the first time the head of a major social media platform explicitly endorsed a US political party.

Musk, also CEO of Tesla(TSLA.O), criticized the Biden administration and Democrats for their proposals to tax billionaires and give more tax incentives to union-made electric vehicles. Tesla has no unions in its US factories.

He addressed his Twitter message to what he called “independent-minded voters”, writing, “Power sharing curbs the worst excesses of both parties, which is why I recommend voting for a Republican Congress. , given that the presidency is a Democrat”.

Republicans are favored to win a majority in the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election, with the Senate being seeded by nonpartisan election forecasters. They could use a majority in either chamber to shut down the Biden legislature and launch potentially politically damaging investigations into the administration and Biden’s family.

Kyle Kondik of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia said Musk’s words were unlikely to influence the election outcome.

“It’s hard to expect some sort of celebrity ‘endorsement,’ as it does, to have much or no effect on voter behavior,” Kondik said.

The White House declined to comment on Musk’s tweet.

Musk, who frequently comments on US politics, previously said he would vote for republicans but that he supports the moderates of the two main political parties.

He said he was leaning towards supporting Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president in 2024 and former President Donald Trump, who sources said would likely launch another White House race in the coming days, was too old to be president again.


Musk isn’t alone among social media executives taking outspoken political stances.

Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc (META.O)for example, made large donations to progressive candidates and supported Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Like other executives, however, Sandberg refrained from explicitly telling her followers how to vote and tried to keep a distance between her personal leanings and her handling of the company’s platforms.

Former Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey expressed a sense of alienation from Republican and Democratic politics, while Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife donated to two nonprofit organizations that distributed grants to state and local governments to help them organize elections.

Musk bought Twitter last month. In one of its first acts, the company fired half of its employees and reported a decline advertising revenue. But the company’s head of security and integrity said the platform’s content moderation capabilities remain in place.

In a statement to Reuters, Jessica Gonzalez, co-CEO of Free Press, a democracy media advocacy group, said Musk’s comment showed he “doesn’t show himself as a balanced CEO that advertisers can trust”.

Last year, Tesla, which considers California its biggest US market, moved its headquarters from California to the more conservative state of Texas. Musk also moved his personal residence from California to Texas, where there is no income tax.

In April, Musk said on Twitter that he believed that for the platform to “deserve the public’s trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left alike. “.

Federal authorities are investigating Musk for his conduct in acquiring Twitter, the company said in a court filing last month. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission have not commented on any potential investigations. Read more

Reporting by Susan Heavey, Rami Ayyub, Steve Holland, Kenneth Li, Kanishka Singh, Sheila Dang and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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