Wow. No backbone, colluders, woke—it all sounds like a very dicey mix coming for Republicans, who are now the supposed victims of a runaway effort to combat racist GOP voting policies nationwide. Of course, DeSantis is just the latest in a long line of 2024 GOP hopefuls trying to raise their profile by reviling corporate America’s stand against Republicans’ voter suppression efforts.
The question people on both sides of the aisle are asking is: Is this developing schism between Republicans and corporate interests real and, if so, how long will it last?
“I think what is happening is new,” Steven Law, who runs the Senate Leadership PAC associated with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, told the Post. So far this year, political action groups say corporate donations have slumped across the board.
That’s likely a result of the cessation of some corporate giving following Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 insurrection, though some companies have already resumed their regular GOP programming. But in the wake of Republicans’ latest efforts, it remains to be seen if corporate giving to Republicans will return to the similar levels as in past cycles.
In the meantime, GOP official after GOP official is jeering at CEOs and American businesses like drunks in a barroom bawl while Republican operatives simultaneously paint Democrats as the real threat to corporate interests.
“I am curious to see how corporations are going to feel once they start feeling the wrath of this administration, which is going to raise their taxes,” Lisa Spies, a prominent GOP fundraiser, told the Post. Of course, she never mentioned the wrath of Republicans, who have made punitive threats against Delta Airlines and Major League Baseball for speaking out while promising widespread “consequences” for “woke” corporations down the road.
Much like Spies, Law remains certain that Democrats increasing the corporate tax rate by several points is a far worse fate than facing down a party of rabid and capricious opportunists who might take aim at any company at any time. In fact, that’s exactly what Trump did repeatedly, and now Republican lawmakers are tripping all over themselves to strike an equally aggressive posture.
But never mind all those GOP threats, says Law. Companies like Coca-Cola and Delta, he suggests, “learned the hard way” that “relying on fake talking points” from Democrats is a risky business. Too bad for Law, literally hundreds of CEOs and corporations signed on to a statement opposing GOP voter suppression efforts even after they had been briefed by a McConnell staffer. Apparently that briefing wasn’t particularly persuasive to familiar brands like Target, Netflix, Bank of America, Facebook, Cisco, Twitter, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, MasterCard, American Airlines, and United Airlines, among many others.
Many signatories maintain that their decision wasn’t partisan but rather an affirmation of foundational principles of democracy.
“We believe that is a false talking point that is being mounted by the individuals who are trying to restrict voting access to large segments of Americans,” Neil Blumenthal, co-CEO of Warby Parker said of the criticism about partisanship.
Some 60 major law firms have also vowed to combat any election laws that “impose unnecessary barriers on the right to vote and that would disenfranchise underrepresented groups in our country,” according to Brad Karp, chairman of the heavyweight law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
But Republicans, both as a party and individually, are clearly determined to define the backlash to their suppression measures as a partisan hit job in order to stoke a base that prizes culture wars and culture warriors more than anything else.
In fact, it’s nearly impossible to imagine any Republicans turning down the heat in this battle as they jockey for position in 2024. DeSantis is just the latest example after Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Josh Hawley of Missouri have all taken shots at corporate America and Major League Baseball, which yanked its All-Star Game from Georgia over a voter suppression law.
So whatever GOP operatives are telling their friends in the business community, a steady stream of retaliatory vitriol is going to be flowing from the Republican megaphone as long as GOP officials keep advancing these racist laws.