Buckle the seatbelts on your Tesla, strap into your seat on Space X’s mission to Mars, and get ready to vote for the next President of the United States : Elon Reeve Musk.
It could be argued that after two terms of President Trump (yes, I’m calling it already), America will be exhausted of the celebrity-as-politician, and demand a return to the same boring/old/be-suited white guy status quo. A man like that would look like a comfortable backslide to the days when people mostly ignored politics unless someone dropped a bomb or had an affair -- or both.
But anyone who argues that doesn’t fully grasp the current reality we live in.
Politics is a bloodsport. Donald Trump crushed his GOP foes because he was the strongest gladiator — fueled by mountains of Diet Coke and Kentucky Fried Chicken — bludgeoning Ted Cruz and Jeb(!) Bush (please clap) onstage, and again with his Twitter-sword at 2 a.m.
Liberals can complain about President Trump’s lack of decorum, respect for the way Washington works, or say that his election is illegitimate because it wasn’t their desired result, but I think that’s why many Americans voted for him.
The electorate is drawn to controversy. Twitter wars, fighting with extended family on Facebook about Trump’s most recent off-the-cuff remark, calling one another hateful bigots. Is it healthy? Probably not. But we live for these messes we create.
Every election seems like a war for the soul of America, but boiled down, it’s more a battle of two personalities. That’s why I think Trump wins again in 2020. Because his personality is an impossible force to be reckoned with.
So if people love controversy and dynamic personalities... why not let another of America’s most famous and strange businessmen be president?
Elon Musk is no stranger to public missteps. Getting high on Joe Rogan’s podcast, getting sued by the SEC, calling a volunteer diver in the Thailand Cave Rescue a “pedophile” with a “12-year-old child-bride.”
Musk, like his current predecessor, has a love/hate relationship with the press.
Asked for evidence the “hero” diver was in fact a pedophile, Elon Musk replied: “Find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you fucking asshole.”
He also has called the national news media, writ large, “holier-than-thou,” and argued it’s lost its credibility. He went as far as to suggest that he create a news credibility rating site called Pravda (Russian for “Truth”) to keep the media in line.
Barring some slip-up in the Kanye West vs. Elon Musk Republican primary -- wow, we really are living in the greatest timeline -- why should America elect Elon Musk? Can the multi-billionaire actually win over millions of middle-class voters against a bumbling Democratic Party?
Yes. He’s an empathetic multi-billionaire who gives the bulk of his wealth to humanitarian causes. He tweets back at fans (that is: future constituents), and speaks out against the negativity of modern discourse. He’s unvarnished and honest, unlike a politician, and is therefore relatable to the average American. (Sound like someone else you know?)
Plus he smokes weed, which the youth seems to like these days.
More importantly, Musk embodies what I think makes America great.
It’s the idea that you can stand on the shore of a vast lake of self-doubt, competition, and ridicule, and still find a way to reach the other side.
What makes him electable isn’t that he’s another rich, white, tech multi-billionaire. It’s that he’s the living the American Dream. Stories like Elon’s, and Mark Zuckerberg’s, and Jeff Bezos’ keep America believing that a better, vastly richer future for themselves is possible. As Steinbeck put it, we’re all just “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
It’s worth mentioning that Musk, like many tech giants (see: Jobs, Steve) is notorious for running his staff into the ground, demanding they work harder, more, and come back with bigger, better ideas. Some see this as mistreatment. I see it as Musk pushing employees to keep America the place people the world over dream of moving to someday.
I believe Musk would do the same with the cabinet at the White House, making sure no stone was left unturned to find an innovative solution to America’s problems. So what if his Secretary of Energy quits because he’s overworked? Musk would find another.
Like all business owners, Musk knows the crushing weight taxes and regulations can put on start-ups and small businesses. And new businesses, running on innovative ideas, are places that hire people in need of money and something to do all day.
This is the crucial point that Musk understands better than career politicians in Washington.
Now that I’ve made the moral and political case for President Musk, I have to make a legal one.
You see, Elon is technically not a natural-born U.S. citizen. He was born in South Africa, to South African parents, only becoming an American in 2002.
There’s a twist in the story, though: His maternal grandfather Joshua Haldeman was an American, born in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota. Tesla also has expanded its operation in Minnesota considerably, with the intention of growing sizably in the next couple of years. He has also tweeted affectionately about Minnesota sometimes.
He truly is Minnesota’s adopted son. Or anyway, I want him to be.
Elon wouldn’t be the first star to attempt to reach for the presidency , nor would he be the first to need a little help from Congress to get there.
Back in 2003, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (GOP-Utah) introduced a constitutional amendment called the “Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment,” which some dubbed the “Arnold Amendment,” after the Austrian-born Terminator star who was considering a presidential bid.
Hatch’s amendment would allow U.S. citizens , regardless of birthplace , to hold the office of president as long as they’ve lived in the United States at least 20 years. It’s been noted that this amendment would not only help Schwarzenegger (and Elon), but many other non-native born Americans as well, such as former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (Czechoslovakia), Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (Taiwan), and more.
Elon Musk has been an American citizen since 2002. That would mean his 20 years are up in 2022, right around when someone would want to announce a 2024 candidacy.
Looks like all Elon needs to make his presidential bid a reality is a simple constitutional amendment from America’s third-oldest senator (and the one most confused by Facebook.)
All that said, does Elon Musk even want this job?
I don’t know. He seems to be a man capable of anything. Time will tell if this is one of them.
Nick Solheim is a small business owner, writer, and a holder of many strong opinions you probably disagree with. Elon Musk is his hero. Find Nick on Twitter at @NickSSolheim.