Elon Musk is probably the most interesting man alive today.
He has been hailed as the real-life Tony Stark (the alter ego of Iron Man in the Marvel Comic Books and movies of the same name). A billionaire who spends his time building reusable rockets, trying to save the Earth from what he believes to be manmade Climate Change, and now, thanks to his purchase of Twitter, serving as America’s fiercest defender of free speech.
Musk is an enigma to many.
A man who has been open in his praise for former President Barack Obama, Musk has also been sympathetic toward Donald J. Trump and has become a fellow traveler of sorts (notably on the aforementioned free speech issue) for the American Right, stirring up controversy from all sides of the political spectrum.
The man who helped create PayPal and numbers the likes of Peter Thiel among his friends, Musk is a legendary workaholic with his hands in many different pies. He fantasizes about spending the rest of his life on Mars and being buried on the mysterious Red Planet.
Yet, there are many who yearn for him to do more here on Earth. Some have even fantasized about the eccentric billionaire moving to a different world from the one that he is used to. Not the deserts of Mars but the swamps of Washington, D.C.
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To be clear, under US law, Elon Musk is not able to ever run for the presidency. Although an American citizen, Musk was born in South Africa. Even if Musk was qualified to run for president under the Constitution—or if the Constitution was changed to allow for Musk to run—it is unlikely he’d want such a job.
Just look at what the job has done to Trump, another fellow billionaire who had the world at his fingertips until he decided to run for president. Heck, just look at what’s happened to Musk’s own reputation since he purchased Twitter and started defending the free speech of the Right-wing users of that social media app who had been infringed upon by the previous overzealously Left-wing management team at Twitter.
But what kind of president would Musk be, if he could run and if he won?
As leader of some of the most innovative technology firms today, we can get a snapshot. The man sleeps in his office and is known for riding his employees to their breaking point. But look at the results the man gets—and look at how many talented people are climbing the walls of SpaceX and Tesla, despite Musk’s hard-charging reputation as a boss.
Musk is truly a goal-oriented leader as well.
Inspired to plant trees on Mars in the early 2000s just to see if it could be done, Musk found that he couldn’t get NASA or any other space agency in the world to support his mission. So, Musk resolved to build his own rockets to achieve that which he wanted.
And once he went down that path, Musk realized that conventional rockets are simply too expensive. Instead, reusable rockets would make such operations affordable over time. The technology was not readily available. Next, Musk had to create the capability from scratch. After 20 years, SpaceX is now seriously contemplating how a SpaceX colony on Mars would operate—not at some distant point in the future, but by the end of the decade.
This is all the result of Musk matching his vision and indomitable will with the immense reservoir of talent that works at SpaceX. He did this at Tesla as well, turning it from an aspirational company that had no real way of achieving its goal of making America a nation that ran on Electric Vehicles (EV) into, for better or worse, a company pioneering the only part of America’s automotive industry that has seen consistent growth.
Despite criticism for his management of Twitter since taking over the social media company in a contentious buyout last year, Elon Musk is in the early experimental stages of changing Twitter into a truly dynamic, profit-making company.
In fact, his acquisition of Twitter was probably the riskiest thing he ever did not just for his reputation but because the company was in dire need of total reform. When Musk purchased the company, he found himself surrounded by employees there who were inimical to his vision and outright hostile to his work ethic.
Musk’s Twitter Takeover Would Be Similar to His Presidency
In this way, then, Musk’s experience at Twitter would be similar to what he’d experience if he were able to become president. Elon Musk has persevered, though. And I believe he will make Twitter a profitable enterprise—far more than it previously was—once he works out the kinks. Now imagine what Musk would do as the nation’s chief executive.
Of course, as a heterodox political thinker, it’s likely that Musk would antagonize both the Left and the Right. That, by the way, is a good thing. This country can’t survive much more of the uncompromising aspects of either the Far Left or Far Right.
Elon Musk is a capitalist. Thus, we could anticipate the billionaire creating programs and policies that would preserve the core tenets of America’s capitalist system that are under constant threat by the American Left.
The downside, of course, would be Musk’s heartlessness to those who are in need. If he were president, it is likely that the businessman would cut many programs designed to help the needy. The tech titan would also likely create policies empowering high-tech solutions to some of our most vexing woes as a society.
The main reason that Elon Musk is obsessed with getting to Mars is, as he has said repeatedly, to create a fallback position for humanity once we annihilate ourselves on Earth either due to catastrophic Climate Change or nuclear world war. Given what’s happening in Ukraine, it is likely that Musk would embrace a non-interventionist foreign policy designed to mitigate the threat of uncontrolled escalation into World War III.
The hatred from many of Musk’s former supporters on the Left emanates from Musk refusing to bend the knee to wokeness. Thus, as president, one could anticipate Musk embracing a thoroughly conservative set of social policies (note I put “conservative” with a lower case “c” because I do not mean to say that Musk would be ideological Conservative, like Ronald Reagan. He would simply be reasonable and moderate).
A reformer at heart, a practitioner of free market principles, and defender of peace, and a truly rational person on social issues would make Elon Musk a highly effective president. Sadly, this is but a dream. He cannot be president due to constitutional limitations. Still, given the disasters we’ve elected over the last 30 years, it’s nice to imagine what a competent (if not eccentric) president would look like in the White House.
Fate Has a Strange Sense of Humor
If only Musk had been born in Peoria, Ill., rather than Pretoria, South Africa. Then again, Musk’s experiences as an immigrant likely influenced the development of his unique personality, worldview, and work ethic—the things that have made Elon Musk the man he is.
Thus, Musk should be loyal to the nightmare of his own choice; of his own unique set of circumstances—and we Americans desperate for a better type of leader should be content to leave such outcomes to fate.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.