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Elon Musk's favorite presidential candidates keep underperforming

Republican presidential candidates Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy shake hands after the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama Moody Music Hall on December 6, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Republican presidential candidates Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy shake hands after the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama Moody Music Hall on December 6, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.Mark J. Terrill/ AP Images
  • Elon Musk is one of the richest people in the world, but his electoral predictions haven't been the best.

  • He initially cast his support in the 2024 election for DeSantis, but later turned to Ramaswamy.

  • Now, Ramaswamy's dropped out and DeSantis has a rough road ahead of him.

The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and X, Elon Musk, has spent decades building a reputation as a preeminent businessman and tech leader. Now that the dust — or snow, in this instance — has settled from the Iowa caucuses on Monday, it's becoming increasingly evident that political prognostication may not be his forte.

Though Musk has "overwhelmingly" voted for Democrats earlier in his life, in May 2022, he said he'd choose a Republican this go-around. Despite former President Donald Trump's prominent lead in the GOP primary race, it's unlikely he'll endorse him after Musk's biographer reported the tech executive is "not Trump's fan."

"Trump might be one of the world's best bullshitters," Musk told author Walter Isaacson. "Like my dad. Bullshitting can sometimes baffle the brain. If you just think of Trump as a sort of con-man performance, then his behavior makes sense."

In 2022, midway through President Joe Biden's presidency, Musk said on X — Twitter at the time — that he'd support DeSantis if he announced a bid for the White House.

Though Musk never gave DeSantis his explicit endorsement, he ultimately hosted the Florida governor's presidential campaign announcement live on Twitter Spaces, which turned out to be a flop after the platform crashed repeatedly.

Even with Musk's support at the beginning of his campaign, DeSantis has yet to be able to capitalize on any of his opportunities.

At the Iowa Caucuses on Monday, he finished in second place with 21% of the vote, more than 30 percentage points behind Trump and only 2 percentage points ahead of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, despite him having spent ample time recently campaigning in each of Iowa's 99 counties.

Poised to place third in several of the next few primary races, DeSantis' momentum in the race is rapidly slowing down as Haley is on the rise.

DeSantis, however, isn't the only major GOP candidate Musk's given ample praise to.

In August 2023, Musk said he wanted Vivek Ramaswamy, a rebellious ultrawealthy entrepreneur who stole the show in several of the Republican Party's primary debates and floated the idea of Musk being a White House adviser, to become the GOP's vice-president pick.

Months later, in October, Ramaswamy said Musk personally attended a campaign fundraiser of his in California where they spoke about the "cultural direction for the country."

Despite Ramaswamy's poor polling, Musk recently agreed with an X account that predicted the candidate would "shock" the nation with his performance in Iowa.

"My guess is that Vivek will far exceed the polls when the votes are counted," Musk wrote on X.

Nevertheless, by night's end on Monday night, Ramaswamy received just under 8% of the final vote in Iowa and as a result, dropped out of the race and immediately endorsed Trump.

With Ramaswamy out of the picture and DeSantis' momentum on the downturn, it's unclear if Musk will begrudgingly embrace Trump or instead turn to Haley, whose campaign he said was "dead" following the fourth GOP presidential debate in early December.

There's still plenty of election to go, and plenty of longshot, slim chance candidates vying for the billionaire's nod; just this week, Democrat Dean Phillips dangled a cabinet post towards Musk.

Read the original article on Business Insider