The midterm elections in the US and the current Twitter mess have once more proved that hubris is on the wane there. The far right once controlled US politics with the presidency of Republican Donald Trump while Elon Musk got the adulation of many for being the world’s richest man before he bought the online platform Twitter. He is identified with other firms like Tesla and SpaceX.
In the midterm elections, Republicans and their supporters boasted about the coming “red wave” or “red tsunami” in the polling precincts. Red is the color of the Republicans and blue is for the Democrats. President Joe Biden is Democrat. And in the US, the midterm elections favor the opposition.
Trump used the elections as a chance to test the waters, sort of. He went out and openly campaigned for his allies, notably the so-called “election deniers,” or candidates who refused to believe the results of the 2020 elections when Trump lost. Most of them ran for governor in their respective states. Of course, the “red wave” did not happen and all the election deniers lost.
Musk for his part bought Twitter using his billions and when he took over he showed both his arrogance and lack of respect for the workers who made Twitter successful. He started firing employees left and right, especially those who showed a semblance of opposition to his policies. To gain profits, he allowed anybody for US$8 the blue check mark previously reserved for big name personalities.
Both actions caused chaos. Soon employees who were forced to work for longer hours quit. Advertisers also got away. Eli Lilly, a firm that sells insulin, lost profits after a fake account with a blue check mark announced that insulin will already be free. Musk temporarily locked out the Twitter building, apparently fearing that employees would sabotage the firm.
Trump, meanwhile, proceeded to declare he will be running for president again even as some of his supporters are starting to distance themselves from him. Musk’s more recent move is to allow Trump into the Twitter platform again together with other far right personalities.
Both Trump and Musk are expected to get over this recent episode but already with limited influence. Trump may no longer end up as the Republicans’ bet with the emergence of fresh faces after the midterm elections. Musk already voiced his fear that Twitter may go bankrupt. Meanwhile, there are still loans to pay for his purchase of Twitter. He will lose billions if ever, reducing the billions he owns.
The far right is on the defensive not only in the US but also throughout the world. This means that liberal democratic thinking is on the upswing again, which could also happen in the Philippines. After Rodrigo Duterte and Ferdinand Marcos Jr., another liberal democratic personality may emerge to defeat the far right in the country. As I noted earlier, politics is like a pendulum. Where world politics swings, so too politics in the country.