Musk: For the first time, I'm voting Republican

Musk: For the first time, I'm voting Republican

Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around lately.

In the race between Bill Maher and Joe Rogan to see which outspoken liberal will be the first to be fully red-pilled, it turns out the winner is … Elon Musk.

We should have seen it coming. How many Democratic voters worry that Twitter is too left-wing?

Which side’s media greeted Musk’s offer to buy Twitter as a day of liberation and which received the news as akin to “the last evening in a Berlin nightclub at the twilight of Weimar Germany”? That should have been another clue which way he’s leaning these days.

About that day of liberation, though. Ed wrote earlier about Musk’s latest complaint, that Twitter supposedly hasn’t been forthcoming about the number of spam bots on the site. Bloomberg’s Matt Levine makes a compelling case that that’s the purest of BS, beginning with the fact that one of the reasons Musk gave when he announced his offer for Twitter was that the site supposedly needed new leadership to … clean up all the spam bots.

Levine thinks he’s trying to welsh on the deal. His offer price of $54.20 per share seems too high now that various tech stocks, including Twitter and Tesla, have tanked over the past month. Musk’s alleged concern about bots reeks of a nonfinancial excuse to walk away now that he’s overextended. And there are no good remedies for Twitter if he does, Levine writes. If they renegotiate a lower price with him, he could duck out on that new deal just like he’s trying to duck out on the current one. If they sue to make him pay a termination fee, his loss is capped at $1 billion, a relative pittance for both sides. If they sue to try to *force* him to complete the purchase at the originally agreed upon price, well … even the courts may struggle to get Elon Musk to play by the rules.

Twitter can do what he actually wants, which is renegotiate the deal at a lower price. But what good will that do? What does Twitter get from signing a new merger agreement with him at, say, $42 per share? He has not lived up to any of his agreements with Twitter — the standstill, the non-disparagement clause of the merger agreement, apparently a nondisclosure agreement, the merger agreement itself — and he’s not going to live up to a repriced merger agreement unless he feels like it. An agreement with Elon Musk is worthless, as Twitter has learned over and over again…

The agreement does, however, allow Twitter to sue for “specific performance,” meaning that it can go to a Delaware court and ask a judge to order Musk to close the deal (and fund his $27.5 billion equity commitment). But this is tough and there is no guarantee it will work. Specific performance is only possible if Musk’s debt financing is available, which seems likely but not certain, and if a judge is willing to order it. On the one hand, Musk’s lawlessness and bad faith will probably annoy a judge and make her more likely to specifically enforce the merger agreement. On the other hand, Musk’s lawlessness and bad faith might worry a Delaware judge and make her less likely to specifically enforce the merger agreement. It is bad, for the rule of law generally and for confidence in Delaware corporate law in particular, if Musk blatantly ignores a merger agreement and a judge lets him get away with it. But it’s even worse if a court orders him to close and he ignores the order. Musk has a history of ignoring court orders and getting away with it.

Refusing to honor his contractual obligations is another thing that points to Musk being a modern Republican considering who leads the party nowadays.

Levine thinks the most effective way Twitter can punish him if he leaves them in the lurch would be to simply ban him from the platform. He has 93 million followers and has used his social media presence shrewdly to promote Tesla and SpaceX. Booting him off of Twitter really would hurt him in a way that some paltry billion-dollar termination fee wouldn’t.

Come to think of it, getting banned from Twitter would also distinguish him as Republican at heart. Imagine how magical it’ll be when he opens an account at Truth Social and he and Trump begin flaming each other.

Or maybe he’ll start his own social media platform? If anyone could muster the technology and hype needed to make a new Twitter rival an instant success, it’s Elon Musk.

In lieu of an exit question, I’ll leave you with this. I don’t know if Rogan’s a left-wing populist or a right-wing populist but he’s certainly a populist.

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