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A Ron DeSantis and Elon Musk Alliance Could Be a (Powerful) Thing

Ron DeSantis. Image Credit: Fox News Screenshot.
Ron DeSantis. Image Credit: Fox News Interview Screenshot.

Ron DeSantis will announce his 2024 presidential campaign… on Twitter: Donald Trump rode Twitter to the presidency, even as he was banned from the platform after January 6. Now, his main opponent in 2024 will announce his candidacy on that social network. 

It was known for at least a few days that Ron DeSantis would be formally announcing his presidential candidacy this week.

But the big surprise is precisely how he’ll do it. 

The Florida governor will launch his candidacy on Wednesday night on Twitter, in a Twitter Space discussion with Elon Musk, the owner and outgoing CEO of that company, NBC News reported Tuesday. Tech entrepreneur David Sacks, who is among Musk’s advisers with Twitter, will moderate the discussion, set to begin at 6 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday. 

Musk had announced last December that he would support DeSantis for president, if the governor ran, and Sacks is a supporter of Musk as well. It’s not clear if Musk will be formally endorsing DeSantis for president as part of the event. 

A launch video will also come out on Wednesday. 

Musk and Ron DeSantis are both a key part of the opposition to what is commonly called “wokeness,” and while Musk’s politics were considered more idiosyncratic for the first several years of his career, he has drifted more rightward in the post-Trump era, especially since he became the owner of Twitter late last year.

Musk, per NBC, does not think Trump can win the White House again, and in 2017 he resigned from then-President Trump’s business councils, following Trump’s announcement that he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords. 

The Ron DeSantis Strategy 

DeSantis is undoubtedly hoping to win the hearts and minds of large swathes of Musk’s fanboy community, the sort of people who have agreed to pay Twitter for blue verification badges. Whether that cohort consists of enough people to affect the results of a GOP presidential contest, however, is another question entirely. 

The announcement marks another way in which the Musk-led incarnation of Twitter is becoming associated with the political right, just a couple of weeks after it was announced that Tucker Carlson will be hosting a show on the platform, following his exit from Fox News. Musk has also reinstated numerous right-leaning accounts that had been banished from the platform by the company’s pre-Musk regime- including that of former President Donald Trump. He also launched “The Twitter Files,” a series of disclosures meant to show bias and unfairness by Twitter’s pre-Musk regime, although the disclosures have mostly fallen flat, and left Musk at odds with some of the reporters with whom he engaged on the files. 

Trump, who was banned from the platform in early 2021 after January 6, had his account reinstated earlier this year, and while his years of tweets have been restored, Trump has not returned to the network as an active user, instead sticking with his own Truth Social network. 

While Trump was reported, as long ago as January, to be readying a return to Twitter, he still has not done so. 

One of the ironies is that Twitter played such a huge role in Trump’s rise, while it’s his hated opponent who is using that same platform to launch his own candidacy. 

Ron DeSantis has not been considered a Twitter power user the way Trump was and has not traditionally used his account to attack his enemies. He has 1.7 million followers on his personal account and 4.2 million on his gubernatorial account. Trump’s Twitter account, which has not posted anything new in more than two years, has 86.9 million followers. 

 NBC News noted that for all the talk about the role of Big Tech in politics, it’s been rare for tech CEOs to actively participate in the campaign launch of a major presidential candidate. 

“Announcing on Twitter is perfect for Ron DeSantis,” a Trump adviser told journalist Amanda Terkel. “This way he doesn’t have to interact with people and the media can’t ask him any questions.”

Expertise and Experience:

Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.