Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential election, and he did so on Twitter Spaces.
This event moves Elon Musk to the centre of the electoral battle. Because hosting Donald Trump’s main opponent for the Republican Party nomination on his own platform carries its own weight, even if Elon Musk is playing it cool.
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DeSantis candidacy via Twitter, Elon Musk at the centre of the electoral debate
‘At the moment I’m not going to endorse any particular candidate, but I’m interested in Twitter being a kind of town square,’ Musk said.
Yet, as we said, he is launching a candidate on his platform, for the DeSantis team this is a clear message of support for the party’s rising star. Then again, Musk is one to muddy the waters, for example on Friday in a tweet he praised an ad by Senator Tim Scott, one of DeSantis’ rivals for the nomination.
But then we also know that Musk is a basic admirer of DeSantis, only last year the Twitter CEO had declared his intention to support the governor if he ran.
Also because, Musk’s confidence in Donald Trump is weak, according to an inside source reported by NBC News, he does not believe the former president can win back the White House.
Never before had a technology company entered so deeply into the electoral game, Twitter or Facebook themselves had launched election hubs, but ensured that the candidates remained at arm’s length. Now that the richest man in the world is (albeit unofficially) taking sides, it unbalances the plan.
Twitter, the Republicans’ new showcase
De Santis and Musk met for the first time in early 2021 in Austin, Texas. They were both sitting at a table in a restaurant with 15 other people, all members of the tech world, investors, developers, officials.
Even before they found themselves side by side, Musk and De Santis already had an indirect connection thanks to David Sacks, Musk’s friend and De Santis’ supporter, and indeed it was he who moderated the event on Twitter Space.
That Musk likes the atmosphere of the conservative right is evident. It was he who bought Twitter to restore ‘freedom of speech‘, who spoke out against political correctness, practising the exact opposite on social, the humour that Musk feeds is made up of sexist, misogynist, or racist jokes.
Always the one to restore far-right accounts suspended for spreading disinformation, Twitter itself was one of the first platforms to reopen its doors to Trump after Capitol Hill.
Not only that, Twitter recently launched a new show by Tucker Carlson, former Fox News anchor and popular face of conservative media. According to NBC News, DeSantis’ aides noted that Elon Musk’s platform has become increasingly open to fiery conservatives, allowing them to speak directly to their audience and bypass the mainstream media that risks censoring them.
“I expect the campaign to paint a positive vision for the country and the whole launch will compare the future and the past, success and failure. This is the framework of the race,’ a source inside the project told NBC. In a nutshell, polarising the discourse, nothing new, the far right has always done it, now they are also doing it on Twitter.