Corporations “must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex” and “stay out of politics,” Mitch McConnell said. Twitter erupted in mockery, noting how the GOP was happy with the outcome of Citizens United v. FEC.
“Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling,” Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement on Monday.
The unusual attack from McConnell against big business – which for a long time was a reliable ally of the Republican Party and recipient of benefits stemming from its policies – came over the controversial election law passed by Georgia last week. The 98-page bill makes early and absentee voting somewhat harder, empowers the state legislature’s role in running elections, and introduces other changes – including making it a crime to offer food and water to voters waiting in line.
The law was decried as “the new Jim Crow” by the Democratic side, which claimed it was passed in response to the surprise victories of two Democratic Party candidates in the run-off election in January. ‘Jim Crow’ refers to the discriminatory policies targeting black Americans during the segregation era.
The Republican-controlled state wants to suppress voting by black people in Georgia with the new rules, critics say. However, it still remains to be seen whether the law would actually lead to noticeably lower turnout among Democratic voters.
Some corporations with a strong presence in Georgia, like Coca-Cola and Delta, have criticized the new law, and Major League Baseball has pulled the 2021 All-Star Game out of the state in protest. McConnell said these companies are “behaving like a woke parallel government” and would “invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country.”
Businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.
The GOP leader believes that the hyperbolic and sometimes misleading criticism by the Democratic Party is motivated by their desire to push sweeping election reform (the For the People Act) through Congress. The GOP has called the bill an attempt at a power grab and an attack on the right for states to decide how to run their elections.
Corporations that side with the Democrats in criticizing the Georgia election law are engaged in bullying and are hypocrites, since they have no problem doing business in blue states with more restrictive rules on absentee voting than Georgia now has, McConnell said.
“My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights,” he told a news conference.
Considering the GOP’s historic coziness with big corporations and McConnell’s own advocacy for big business to have as much leverage on politics as they want – in the form of campaign donations and third-party political advertising – the statement didn’t go over well online.
‘Citizens United’, the name of a conservative non-profit that successfully challenged the Federal Election Commission in the Supreme Court to allow unfettered electioneering through Super PACs, trended on Twitter as people rushed to ridicule McConnell.
Republicans:Money is speech.Corporations are people.Citizens United was great….Corporations begin to speak up in ways Republicans don’t like….Republicans:Corporations, STFU.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) April 6, 2021
Going to be fun watching GOP challengers in 2022 run on repealing Citizens United.
— Conor Sen (@conorsen) April 5, 2021
Some said if McConnell really wants corporations to stay out of politics, he should support the very same Democratic election reform that he has spoken out against.
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