Since Elon Musk on April 14 announced a $54.20-a-share, or $44 billion, bid to acquire the social-network Twitter (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. Report, he’s become the target of attacks from the much of the Democratic Party.
The reason for this anger is clear. The billionaire, who describes Twitter as the de facto town square of our time, says the platform will be open to everyone as long as the comments made do not violate the law of the country where they are made. As long as users stay within the law, he argues, there is no reason to exclude them.
This principle, supposed to guarantee the principles of free speech, was welcomed by many in the Republican Party, who believe that Twitter’s content-moderation policies sanctioned them unfairly.
In particular, they cite the microblogging group’s ban on former President Donald Trump, who was taken off the network after the uprising of Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol.
Musk, CEO of electric-vehicle leader Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report, has said that once he closes the acquisition of Twitter, he will lift the ban on Trump.
But for the Democrats, Musk’s Twitter as it stands will open a barrage of hate, bullying and misinformation. Even Bill Gates, the co-founder of software giant Microsoft (MSFT) – Get Microsoft Corporation Report, has expressed concern, saying he fears Musk might make things worse.
“He actually could make it worse,” Gates said in a recent interview. “That’s not his track record. I mean, his track record with Tesla and SpaceX is pretty mind blowing at putting together a great team of engineers and … taking the people who worked in those fields in a less bold way, and really showing them up.
“I kind of doubt that will happen this time, but we should have an open mind and never underestimate Elon.”
For his part, Trump has said he’s staying on the alternative social network he created, Truth Social.
Musk Wants A Less Divisive Candidate …
While both many critics and Trump backers may have thought that Musk’s decision might mean that Musk could be a surety for the former Republican president’s future ambitions, they may have got ahead of themselves.
The predictably unpredictable tech tycoon has just dealt a blow to Trump. In a Twitter thread Musk reiterated that Trump should be allowed back at Twitter. But Musk also said he prefers a less divisive candidate for 2024.
“Even though I think a less divisive candidate would be better in 2024, I still think Trump should be restored to Twitter,” the billionaire on May 12 wrote to his almost 93 million followers.
When podcaster Lex Fridman commented that the ban only deepens divisions instead of fostering dialogue, Musk nodded.
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“Agreed,” Fridman commented. “Permanent ban increased division, resentment, and hate in the world, not decreased it. It just moved it off the platform. Conversation is the only thing we have to heal the division and celebrate our common humanity.”
“Exactly,” Musk responded.
…but Is Playing No Favorites
In calling for a candidate less divisive than Trump, Musk is not favoring President Joe Biden. While he has praised the Biden administration’s efforts in opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Musk also has criticized Biden.
“Biden’s mistake is that he thinks he was elected to transform the country,” Musk told his millions of fans. “But actually everyone just wanted less drama.”
By criticizing both Trump and Biden on the same day, Musk makes clear that he is not favoring either for the 2024 election.
The co-creator of dogecoin, Musk’s favorite cryptocurrency, said on Twitter 300 million Americans are looking for “candidates that aren’t super terrible.” Musk replied, indicating that the two men are too old to hold the presidency.
“i would just like a few options for candidates that aren’t super terrible is that too much to ask. there are 300 million americans ffs,” Billy Markus commented.
“And also younger than 8000 years old!” Musk replied.
And Musk is not stopping there.
“There’s a minimum age to run for democracy, why not have maximum age too?! For a good functioning democracy maximum age should be considered, the leaders must be reasonably in touch with the bulk of the population,” a Twitter user commented.
“Didn’t occur to founders of USA that people would live so long, so they put in age minimums (for wisdom), but not age maximums (for … 😴),” Musk added with a not very flattering emoji.
To sum up, for Musk it’s neither Trump nor Biden in 2024.
Biden will turn 80 in November. He will be 82 at the time of the election in 2024. Donald Trump turns 76 in June. The former president will be over 78 when the next White House election comes around.
Musk is 50 and can’t run for president because he was not born on American soil, one of the criteria for being an eligible candidate.