Republicans at the state and federal level are rallying against big business in light of the corporate backlash to Georgia for election reforms signed into law last month.
The GOP angst over corporate influence in politics has grown steadily in recent years. Corporate interference in the 2020 election and now big business engaging in what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called “economic blackmail” over GOP-led election reforms has catalyzed Republican anger and provoked action.
“Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex. Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling,” McConnell said in a statement Monday.
“From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government,” he added. “Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”
On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he was boycotting Major League Baseball, an idea floated by other Republicans such as former President Donald Trump and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), after the league pulled its 2021 all-star game and draft from Atlanta over Georgia’s election reforms.
“It is shameful that America’s pastime is not only being influenced by partisan political politics, but also perpetuating false political narratives,” Abbott said in a statement. “However, I will not participate in an event held by MLB, and the state will not seek to host the All-Star Game or any other MLB special events.”
Republicans on Capitol Hill are leading a push to strip MLB of its special protections against U.S. antitrust law. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Marco Rubio of Florida are drafting legislation that would remove special protections awarded the MLB, and not any other sports league, under a 1922 Supreme Court decision. Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina is crafting the bill in the companion bill in the House.
In Georgia, Republican across the state have reacted to the corporate outcry with anger, threats, and a general refusal to apologize for any part of the election reform bill. A group of eight state representatives sent a letter to the Georgia-based Coca-Cola Company on Saturday demanding the company remove its products from their offices after it spoke out against the election reforms. Republicans in the state House passed legislation that would strip Delta Air Lines of a tax break worth $35 million after the airline condemned the state election reforms days after lauding the bill. The effort to punish Delta died in the Senate, however.
Over the weekend, Trump encouraged Americans to boycott any company that decides to openly engage in partisan politics, noting in a Saturday statement that “for years the Radical Left Democrats have played dirty by boycotting products when anything from that company is done or stated in any way that offends them. It is finally time for Republicans and Conservatives to fight back – we have more people than they do – by far!”
Before the corporate backlash to the Georgia election reforms, Republicans were already working on solutions to hit back against big tech platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to settle long-standing issues as well as prevent a repeat of what happened during the 2020 election. Trump, who has been deplatformed by virtually every Big Tech company, is building a new social media company to compete with Facebook and Twitter.
The Big Tech companies and network media waded into the 2020 election in ways that benefited President Joe Biden’s campaign by censoring stories about Biden’s son, Hunter. Facebook and Twitter actively squashed the stories from spreading on their platforms. Corporate media dismissed reports into Hunter’s foreign business deals. Media outlets such as NPR dismissed the stories as “pure distractions,” while others falsely suggested they were part of a Russian misinformation campaign.
Republicans have long alleged that Big Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have engaged in viewpoint censorship that weighs heavily against conservatives. GOP Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida are launching efforts to rein in Big Tech’s power in their states. In February, DeSantis announced that his administration would be working with legislators on reforms to protect Floridians privacy from Big Tech companies and protect users from being unfairly deplatformed.
“It’s not just being banned from Twitter or something. As we’ve seen these these companies can act, they can collude, they can deny you if you’re a small business of payment processing, the ability to use email and text,” DeSantis said in an interview on Fox News. “So what, you go to a rally that they don’t like or you engage in wrong thing, and all of a sudden, your flower business is decapitated for a month because they take action? So I think we’ve gone down a dangerous path on this.”
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