Saturday, April 17, 2021

CNBC explains 'How Georgia's Controversial Voting Laws Sparked Major Corporate Backlash'

I made a serious point amid all my mockery in Rudy Giuliani and Mike Lindell earn Razzie nominations: "'Absolute Proof' is my pick for worst political film of 2020 for no other reason than it perpetrates the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. I find that actively harmful." One of the consequences of the Big Lie was a violent coup attempt when then Vice President Pence refused to go along with former President Trump.* The other is that Republican state legislators are acting on it by introducing new election bills that restrict what Trump's Big Lie sees as the reasons for his loss, mail-in voting and early voting, particularly Sunday voting. Georgia became the first state to sign such bills into law this year, causing corporations to condemn the laws and conservatives to attack the corporations.

Since I featured the comedians already, it's time for me to post something serious about the issue. Fortunately, CNBC helped me by uploading How Georgia's Controversial Voting Laws Sparked Major Corporate Backlash yesterday.

Republican state legislators across the country began to formulate new voting laws in response to the tumultuous 2020 presidential election in State Houses across the country. In Georgia, the voting law known as SB 202 has become mired in controversy, as opponents of the law claim it will further voter suppression, and supporters of the new law argue that it will bring back confidence in elections.

A rash of new voting legislation has caused an uproar among progressive activists, pushing some big businesses to take a political stance. Some corporations and executives have voiced opposition to the new bills, notably in Georgia.

Amazon, General Motors, and others released a joint statement in opposition to voting restrictions. Earlier in the month, Major League Baseball reportedly moved the All-Star game out of Georgia in protest of the new bill, and the CEO of Delta Airlines stated the voting law was 'unacceptable'.
The new law in Georgia will mandate voter ID for absentee voting, limit the use of drop boxes, and restrict giving out food and water to voters waiting in line near polls. Proponents think these measures will increase security and faith in elections.

Opponents of these bills say they're targeting low-income voters who have less flexibility to vote during work hours and also are less likely to have a driver's license or other forms of ID.
That's only part of a long video description at YouTube. The summary at CNBC's webpage is more succinct.
Republican state legislators across the country have been formulating new voting laws in response to the 2020 presidential election. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill known as S.B. 202 was signed into law last month. Opponents of the law claim it will add to voter suppression in the state, and supporters argue it will bring back confidence in elections.
I like that better.

Politico analyzed the story more deeply, stating The GOP-Big Business Divorce Goes Deeper Than You Think.
The recent spat between leading Republicans and major corporations like Delta, Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball criticizing Georgia’s restrictive new voting law isn’t just about voting rights; it’s the sign of a deeper breakup that has been years in the making. For anyone confused about how Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell could admonish big companies to “stay out of politics,” after building a career on corporate donations and business-friendly policies, this deeper breakup tells the story.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a legendary business professor and associate dean at the Yale School of Management, has watched this split grow in recent years, and has heard it from CEOs he knows and works with. What the GOP cares about and what major businesses care about are, increasingly incompatible, he says.

“The political desire to use wedge issues to divide—which used to be fringe in the GOP—has become mainstream,” Sonnenfeld says. “That is 100 percent at variance with what the business community wants. And that is a million times more important to them than how many dollars of taxes are paid here or there.”
As the GOP tries to position itself as the home of “working-class values,” capturing loyalty with a steady campaign against the perceived excesses of progressive culture, it’s running afoul of a business community that can’t simply silo off “culture war” topics. In the eyes of major corporations, issues like voting rights, immigration and transgender-inclusive restrooms have economic impact, too. The millions of people alienated by those fights aren’t just their future customers, many of whom expect to support brands they believe in, they’re the companies’ employees.

“The bad news for Republicans is that they seem to have a 1920s view of who Big Business’ workforce is,” says Sonnenfeld. “That workforce is, at a minimum, highly diverse—and they get along. Trying to stir that up is misguided.”
“Basically, business leaders believe that it’s in the interest of society to have social harmony. ... Divisiveness in society is not in their interest, short term or long term.”
Not only did Republicans drink Trump's Kool-Aid, it looks like they drank Steve Bannon's about turning the GOP into a working-class white party as well. While Bannon may claim credit for the idea, I can trace it back to 2012, when Newt Gingrich threw big business under the bus while campaigning against Mitt Romney. Nine years later, the rift between Republicans and big business has opened up wide enough for everyone to see. Who knows? Maybe the Republican Party will fall into it. Break out the popcorn, but also fight for voting rights.

*Personally, I'd rather call it Trump's dangerous delusion, his fixed belief that the election was stolen from him despite all evidence, which I see as related to his vulnerability to conspiracy theories, but "the Big Lie" is the established phrase used by CNBC and others, so I'm calling it that instead. It's a lie, too.


  1. I used to think US of A where a western democracy; now I see that it's more likely something you could comparrish with eg Ukraina or Belarus....

    1. It could become a "managed democracy" like the two countries you mentioned, which I think Trump would have and might still like, but I'd rather say it's become more of a Banana Republic, complete with banana Republicans.