He is one of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world but there is still much we don’t know about Elon Musk. What is his political affiliation?
Elon Musk is politically unaffiliated. He has donated money to members of both major political parties in the United States, saying that he wants to maintain an “open dialogue”. He served as a member of President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum but resigned in 2017 after the President announced his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
For more on the conflicting interpretations of Elon Musk’s political beliefs, keep reading.
Musk’s Own Words
For all the speculation regarding Elon Musk’s political views, Musk himself has rarely made any statement one way or another.
In early 2019, after discussing a theoretical settlement on Mars, one of his Twitter follows claimed that he was “openly socialist”. In a rare example of Musk making a political statement, he replied that he is “openly moderate”.
Musk has made numerous donations in support of Republican politicians, leading to individuals on the right gladly claiming the multibillionaire as one of their own. Conversely, many on the left were quick to brand him as a conservative.
Still, he is keen to position himself as moderate. He responded to speculation that he was a supporter of the GOP, tweeting “To be clear, I am not conservative.”
He went on to stay that he is registered independent and is politically moderate but explained that he is not necessarily moderate on all issues.
Open Secrets, which regularly publishes lists of political donations, shows that Musk has donated a relatively even amount of money to both of America’s major political parties.
It should be said that this is not an attitude unique to Musk among billionaires. There is little to be gained from being at odds with the major political parties when either one could conceivably be in power in the near future.
While supporters of both parties can claim Musk has some sort of affiliation with their party via financial contributions, he seems keen to ensure he remains unaligned, able to work alongside whoever he sees fit.
He is an outspoken advocate for environmental sustainability and has explained that, in his youth, he was focused on sustainability in terms of human survival rather than environmental concern.
Through his company, Tesla, Musk is at the forefront of electric car technology and reducing the number of fossil fuels used around the world. Though Tesla has made a great deal of money for Musk, the company also shared several of its patents with its competitors, encouraging the transition to predominantly electric vehicles.
He has also advocated for more efficient solar panels for housing, thus reducing the reliance on traditional energy grids, which largely depend on fossil fuel and nuclear power.
Musk’s stance on renewable energy places him at odds with many leading Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who has gone on record as not wanting to risk the United States’ fossil energy wealth on “dreams” such as windmills, which he claimed were “bird graveyards”.
The billionaire took a hard stance on this issue in June 2017 after the President announced that he was pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.
Musk, who had been a member of the Strategic and Policy Forum, a business advisory council, resigned from his position in protest over the decision. This is a clear sign that, while Musk is willing to work with political leaders, he is also ready to take a stand for his beliefs.
Environmentalists have voiced their support of Musk, saying that his support for their causes far transcends any sort of political affiliation. Representatives of the Sierra Club, an environmental activist group, said that Musk had donated $6 million to their cause.