SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk voted for Republican congressional candidate Mayra Flores, the first time Musk has cast his ballot for a Republican. Flores emerged victorious against Democrat Dan Sanchez in a special election for Texas’ 34th District, which has historically been a Democratic stronghold. Musk also stated that he favored Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 presidential election. Musk’s vote and statement represent another milestone in the billionaire entrepreneur’s journey away from the Democratic Party.
Musk’s political perspective is complex. Musk is registered as an independent and has contributed donations to both former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Musk has opposed the restrictions related to COVID-19, but also reproached President Donald Trump for suspending foreign work visas. Musk has been called an “avowed enthusiast” in his support for the First Amendment. He also supports free-market capitalism, criticizing measures like unionization and federal subsidies. Still, Musk has unfailingly voted for Democrats, voting for Clinton and President Joe Biden in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, respectively.
However, Musk’s attitude toward the Democratic Party appears to have soured in recent months. In April, he moved to acquire Twitter after perceiving that the company engaged in politically prejudiced censorship on its platform. Prominent Republicans like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan generally supported Musk’s acquisition, seeing the move as beneficial to free speech. Democrats like Illinois Rep. Marie Newman and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, opposed Musk’s acquisition and called for heavier taxes to be imposed on him. In response to these attacks, Musk announced in May that he would vote Republican in the 2022 elections. Musk declared on May 18 that Democrats had become the party of “division and hate” and that he could no longer support them.
Musk’s decision to turn away from the Democrats is not because of a conservative epiphany. Still, his opposition to the increasingly vitriolic left does present an opportunity for the GOP in the coming elections. The day after voting for Flores, Musk announced on Twitter that he was considering creating a new super PAC in support of centrist candidates. This may prove fruitful for the right. Given Musk’s alienation from the Democratic Party, his PAC would likely be driven to back GOP candidates by default. Republicans may have found a new ally in their push for a November red wave.