With an incredible 24 Democrats currently vying to take on President Trump next year, there's a bewildering number of candidates to choose from. But Elon Musk has already decided whom he's supporting. On Twitter this week, the Tesla and SpaceX boss backed fellow entrepreneur turned presidential hopeful Andrew Yang.
Hey look, someone actually being civil and thoughtful on Twitter
The conversation kicked off with a typically thoughtful and mild-mannered tweet from Yang.
"I don't expect people to agree with me on everything--that would be odd," Yang wrote. "My main hope is that people trust that I'm trying to solve problems and I'm open to different approaches--particularly if the data drives in a particular direction. Changing one's mind is not a bad thing."
This comment would only be noteworthy in a world where the current occupant of the White House didn't regularly conduct juvenile flame wars via social media, but sadly that's not the world we live in. That reality was noted by Twitter user Dan Carlin, prompting Musk to chime in.
I support Yang-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 10, 2019
Soon, Musk followed up his informal endorsement with an offbeat reason for his support.
He would our first openly goth president. I think this is very important.-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 10, 2019
Why Musk has joined the #YangGang
Musk is being typically cheeky in this second tweet, of course, but his reasons for supporting Yang probably go deeper than an appreciation for the candidate's previous love of black clothes and excessive eyeliner. First off, Yang, who founded the non-profit Venture for America, is a fellow entrepreneur and likely understands and appreciates the challenges and needs of business builders like Musk.
More importantly, however, Yang is a prominent booster of universal basic income, an idea Musk has previously called "obviously needed." My Inc.com colleague Talib Visram explained Yang's idea for the policy in his lengthy profile of the candidate back in June:
Yang's signature policy--his "Freedom Dividend"--is a version of Universal Basic Income, which would give every U.S. citizen 18 or older $1,000 a month, no questions asked....
It's designed to help workers facing displacement make ends meet. In the long term, the hope is for the money to kick-start the economies of local communities, generating new opportunities.
Yang is still languishing towards the back of the Democratic pack, but he's recently jumped to two percent in the polls. This bump means he's the ninth candidate to qualify for the next Democratic debate. The surge in interest is largely thanks to boisterous social-media support under the hashtag #YangGang.
Now a new hashtag, #ElonForYang, is trending thanks to Musk's support, giving Yang even more online visibility. Yang definitely knows it. He tweeted his thanks back to Musk.
Thank you Elon - this means a great deal. Congrats on building the future.-- Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) August 10, 2019