After a spree of attempted cancellations, Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) says she’s experienced “ego death”: she really doesn’t care what people say about her online at this point. “There’s something very freeing in having disappointed people,” she tells Rolling Stone‘s Brian Hiatt in a new cover story.
A lot of that disappointment apparently stems from her perplexing relationship with Elon Musk. Their debut as a couple, in 2018, is still one of the strangest things ever to happen on the Met Gala red carpet (and it happened the year that Rihanna showed up as the Pope). Now, the couple is expecting their first child.
While Grimes arose as a darling of the left, Musk’s still somewhat murky politics reflect the libertarianism typical of the Silicon Valley’s new tech elite. He’s donated to both Republicans and Democrats, and claims to be “openly moderate.” The personal turned political for Grimes when she caught heat for trying to defend Musk’s donations to Republicans and alleged union busting, much to the ire of Twitter.
Still, in the Rolling Stone profile, Grimes offers her endorsement of Bernie Sanders, even if one of the candidate’s central planks is that billionaires, like Musk, should not exist.
“I was hard, hard, hard left before,” Grimes told the magazine. “I still actually sort of am, but there’s the obvious dissonance of my boyfriend. And I think this is the crux of most of the rage.”
Grimes, however, remains convinced that Musk’s money can be used for good, and that his businesses are in keeping with her values. (Tesla is, after all, an electric-car company).
“There are a lot of problems in the world that we need to solve,” she continues. “The government does not truly have the capacity to solve them. My boyfriend is actually doing it, tangibly, visibly—like, you just can’t deny it.”
She claims that Musk rarely takes vacation, isn’t particularly interested in luxury, and puts the money he earns back into research and development. And she is also very adamant that she doesn’t use any of Musk’s money to fund her own projects.
“When I look at the aims of my boyfriend and I look at the aims of Bernie, like, their end goals are very similar. Fix environmental problems, reduce suffering,” she says. “It’s worth dissecting the wealth gap, it’s worth dissecting the existence of billionaires, but situations have nuance.”
It should be pointed out, though, that even right-wingers think their policies can solve the world’s ills. Jeb Bush earnestly once said that “someone in a garage” might be able to fix climate change. And many Reaganites honestly thought trickle-down economics could curb income inequality. In other words, even if the goal is the same, it’s the plan to get there that matters.
Still, Grimes is right that “people are comforted by black and white, and easy to understand,” and it’s not an easy time to suss out details, at least in online discussions capped at 240 characters per thought.
A vote for Bernie Sanders is not, after all, a vote for the end of capitalism or private enterprise. While he is advocating for higher taxes on the wealthy, he’s not promoting wage caps or the nationalization of the electric cybertruck industry. Musk would be just fine in a hypothetical Sanders America. Voting also doesn’t demand 100 percent personal political purity either.
So while Sanders proudly claims he isn’t supported (financially at least) by a single billionaire, it’s not actually that weird that he is supported by the girlfriend of one.