The Power Play: How Tech Titans May Shape the Future of American Politics

It’s a particular twist for a country whose technological and political worlds have become more intermeshed than ever: two of the most reviled figures in each domain might just decide to join forces. As speculation intensifies that Elon Musk might join Donald Trump’s advisory team should the 45th president run for the US presidency again in 2024, in phone calls and public statements, a picture of what their alliance might mean for the US, for better or worse, continues to emerge.

Musk's Phone Diplomacy with Trump: A Strategic Move?

At the centre of this unfolding story are the phone calls exchanged between the two men, and the deliberations about the advisory role that Musk might play. Courtesy the Mid-Hudson Bridge Authority, Wikimedia Musk reportedly flew from San Francisco to Trump Tower in New York on 3 December 2016. That meeting followed a series of phone calls between the two men, initially reported by well-placed sources. The contents of those conversations were revealing. Musk obviously has other agendas, other alliances, and other ties to the international order, all of which he suggested must be weighed when thinking about the advisory role he might play in a future Trump administration. Musk’s influence in areas related to technology, immigration, or border security would be seismic. He is, after all, a disruptive force whose achievements have been accompanied by successive waves of innovations.

The Convergence of Political Ideologies

In that way, Musk’s bedside call to Trump is less an anomaly and more an expression of a longer embrace, in his case, of right-wing politics. On X (Twitter’s rebranding) in particular, Musk has been vociferous in his ire for the current administration and he’s openly used his platform to elevate personalities on the right. The shift in allegiance is even more apparent in his actions on X, from the reinstatement of ‘banned’ accounts to a culture accused of veering too obviously to the right by its critics.

Technology Meets Policy: A Musk-inspired Future?

If Musk is granted an advisory role, his grasp could reach deep into the US’s general policies, particularly those that directly pertain to border security, the economy and the labour force. Given Musk’s known interests in these areas and his innovative approach to problem-solving, one can easily imagine his advice suggesting substantial changes to the ways in which the US pursues policies in these areas. And with Musk’s previous attempts to influence Trump – he resigned from a business council after disagreeing with Trump’s actions – the would-be power pairing might end up being more interesting than initially meets the eye.

Trump's Take on Musk: A Fruitful Felicity?

These recent descriptions by Trump of Musk as a known and friendly figure suggest that their relationship is warming, despite ups and downs over policies such as electric vehicles. However, Trump’s willingness to have Musk play a role in his administration illustrates how the tides of political allegiances can shift, and how common interests can compel strange bedfellows to unite.

A Shift in the Political Winds?

This possible alignment casts a shadow over what it means for politics – and what Musk’s growing political influence will signify ‘The combination of being able to reach a wide audience and the fact that he’s willing to go on TV with people on both sides of the aisle, right-leaning [political] people, shows that he’s looking beyond tech, and towards actual governance and wielding influence on policy.’

Conclusion: Beyond the Phone Calls—Musk's Expanding Horizon

The erratic series of phone conversations between Elon Musk and Donald Trump remains partially enshrined in speculation, but one thing is clear: as the tech industry increasingly reaches out to embroil itself in politics, the implications for future policy, future elections and the trajectory of the world’s only superpower could be enormous. Beyond the breathless speculation, these stories are part the larger arc of upheaval: where the change-makers push into new areas, where influence can be exercised, and above all where an agenda can be set for the most powerful nation on the planet.

About Phone Conversations in the Political Sphere

Phone calls, the kind of call that Musk and Trump were on, are also a primary means of negotiation, strategy, and formulation of alliances that operate in the top echelons of politics and business. The phone, with its ability to provide a back-and-forth, person-to-person live audio channel, is still crucial for this kind of well-placed and timely interactions, highlighting the perennial value of this medium at a time when digital textual communication rather than voice-to-voice and face-to-face is overwhelmingly dominant. The phone is a medium where private candour and immediacy are allowable even in public-sphere conversations and in important decision-making processes, something that a phone call provides more effectively than most other means of communication. Phone calls are both charmed and highly revealing: the personal is always political. A phone call’s epiphenomenal status shows how in political and business activities it can be seen as the signal transmitted across space, forming the threads out of which ropes that will ultimately shape the future policy landscape – whether national or global-scale – can be woven.

May 30, 2024
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