Why did Elon Musk pin a tweet about birth rate in the US after the overturn of Roe vs Wade?
What could be seen as a cryptic message about the birth rate in the US has been up since the abortion ruling was announced.
Many companies in the US have been quick to announce their support for access to abortion by offering to pay workers the associated cost of having to leave a state for the procedure. One of these companies is Tesla which recently moved its headquarters to Texas, a state that is expected to ban abortions in the coming weeks.
Despite this, company CEO Elon Musk has not made any statement about the Supreme Court ruling, nor the decision by his company to help those needing medical care. Instead, he has this tweet pinned to the top of his profile.
The tweet has garnered a lot of attention, with many people attempting to read the subtext behind what it could mean. Discussion surrounding fertility rates have long been considered a racist dog-whistle, which is what will be explored here.
The Republican party and the ‘great replacement’ theory
Musk recently suggested that he may vote for Republican Ron DeSantis if he were to run in the 2024 presidential election. It is unsurprising for a businessman to want to vote for a party that is extremely pro-business. However, it is some of DeSantis’ other beliefs that could give some cause for concern that one of the world’s richest people is supporting his candidacy. DeSantis, currently the governor of Florida, comes from the Trumpian wing of the Republican party, a faction which has staked its claim to popular support by its embracing of far-right ideas.
The Republican party has made anti-immigration rhetoric a key part of its electoral platform. Migration and fertility rates are very much linked when it comes to the conservative discourse on both matters which has been reflected in conservative media coverage. Fox News, a key conservative media outlet, has hosts like Tucker Carlson discussing thinly-veiled claims of a replacement of white Americans by immigrants. This is called the “great replacement.”
This specific right-wing idea has long held sway in the far-right in the US. It provided an excuse to keep segregation, to stop a mixing of white and Black Americans for the fear that whites could lose their racial majority.
And it’s not just TV hosts discussing this, the discourse is bleeding into the political sphere. Republican Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania said in a House Foreign Affairs committee hearing last year that immigrants were being used to purposely replace “native”, in this context meaning ‘white’, Americans.
“For many Americans, what seems to be happening or what they believe right now… is we’re replacing… native-born Americans to permanently transform the landscape of this very nation,” said Rep. Perry.
This all links back to the discourse on abortion. In what has later been called a mistake, Illinois Republican Mary Miller told a crowd at a rally alongside Donald Trump that the Supreme Court abortion ruling was a “victory for white life,” which was received with roaring applause.
So with this tweet Elon Musk finds himself amongst company that is openly supporting a right-wing myth. Tesla have announced that they will be financially supporting workers who want to go to other states for abortions, though it seems their CEO is not greatly enthused by this.
“Past two years have been a demographic disaster,” Musk replied to his pinned tweet. Findings from the 2020 census found a decline in the nation’s white population for the first time, as well as further diversity in American youth. Perhaps these are the demographic ‘disasters’ Musk means.