Tony Perkins / Apr. 8, 2021

Coke Gets a Kick in the Can From Consumers

Americans of all stripes are fed up.

A week into the fiasco over Georgia’s election law, most Americans want to know: just who are these woke CEOs listening to? Not to their shareholders, who can’t make a profit when their companies alienate half of the country. Not to lawyers or legislators, who could set them straight on what the policy actually does. And certainly not to U.S. consumers, who are sending a resounding message that they’re done with businesses who can’t check their radicalism at the door long enough to read a 98-page piece of legislation.

“It’s insanity,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) agreed on “Washington Watch.” Like most people, he can’t believe that Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta, and so many others would put the solvency of their companies on the line to make a political point that — it turns out — isn’t even true! When even MSNBC is telling Joe Biden he “needs to keep it honest,” the Democratic Party has reached a low even the liberal media can’t believe. And yet the White House and its field marshals in Hollywood and Atlanta created such a ridiculous narrative about this law that people like Willie Geist are going on the most radical news outlet in the country and insisting it’s impossible to “square the president’s argument.”

“[D]oesn’t it seem that a lot of people jumped the gun?” Joe Scarborough asked in follow-up. They moved the MLB All-Star Game “before actually either reading the bill or understanding how the bill lined up with New Jersey laws, with New York laws, with laws all across the nation,” he said. Then, astounding even more viewers, he took aim at the lynchpin of the Left’s whole argument. “…When you line this bill up with what the laws were before the pandemic and what the laws are in states like New York, it is not Jim Crow 2.0.”

And what’s happened in the meantime? Countless shoppers are walking away from major U.S. brands because the Left’s dishonesty “whipped up a controversy that left millions of people grossly misinformed, frightened voters, mired major corporations in high-stakes public relations frenzies, distracted the political discourse, and furthered the country’s divisions,” the Federalist’s Emily Jashinsky argues. A new survey just released found that three-quarters of Americans think corporations should stay out of politics. Another 64 percent of them said they’d be less likely to support those who don’t. And this is a poll, incidentally, that talked to more Democrats (34 percent) than Republicans (31 percent)!

Americans of all stripes are fed up. Once they understand what the Georgia law really does, NRO’s Alexandra Desanctis points out, “a majority — again including a majority of Democrats and non-white Americans — also supported the law’s regulations as applied to ballot dropboxes. Almost 80 percent of those surveyed — including a majority of Democrats and non-white Americans — said they support the law’s ID requirement for absentee voting.” The same was true, she explains, about MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s unilateral decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta. “A slim majority said they supported MLB’s decision to move the game at first, but after learning more about the specifics of Georgia’s law, a majority said they were ‘less supportive’ of MLB’s decision.”

As for this loud minority deterring other states from following Georgia’s lead — well, the Left was wrong about that too. An astounding 361 election integrity bills have been introduced in 47 states across the nation this year — and that includes a 43 percent increase since February. If Joe Biden and his party were hoping to scare off other states, they might want to try a different strategy.

“I lay the blame [for this uproar] clearly on these corporations who do not have a backbone. They don’t have the guts to stand up and just accept the truth. They are so afraid of what this Left-wing mob could do to them that they’re alienating their very own customers,” Loudermilk fumed. When Major League Baseball pulled out of Georgia, who do you think they’re going to hurt, he asked? “Well, they’re not going to hurt the other big corporations based there. They’re going to hurt the guy who sells hot dogs at the stadium. They’re going to hurt the server at the restaurant who’s not going to get this business.”

A handful of days ago, he talked with some of those business owners who were trying to come back from the brink after the pandemic. “These are businesses that thrive on having these conventions and sporting events. They were all excited about the All-Star Game.” They wondered if this was the one thing — the catalyst — that could bring their businesses back from poverty. “We met last week,” Loudermilk remembered, “and they were concerned about Major League Baseball. But around the table, everyone said, ‘You know, we don’t [think] that baseball would go to that extreme, because none of this is true.’ And here they go. They’re going off the deep end. It’s unbelievable.”

And of course, these same corporations — whether we’re talking about Delta or others — repeatedly come to these same state leaders looking for special subsidies or tax breaks. Major League Baseball has anti-trust immunity that they’ve enjoyed since 1922. They all look to government — and specifically free-market Republicans — to protect them but now bite the hand that feeds them.

“The last day of the legislative session was the day that Coca-Cola came out and made their announcement [against the election reforms],” Barry explained. “Obviously, the CEO never did read the bill. He just took Stacey Abrams and Nancy Pelosi and the extreme Left’s talking points and came out with this asinine statement that had no truth to it whatsoever.” And the irony, he says, is that when Delta publicly opposed it, the legislature was considering — that day — whether to renew the special tax breaks the airline gets for being based in Atlanta. “How brazen it was for the CEO [to do that], knowing that this [could] cost them millions and millions of dollars… They have totally lost all sense of morality to start with. And I think they’ve totally lost their minds as well.”

Liberals may be brazen now, but Republicans from the Senate on down are sending a message that if corporations want to fuel the crazy policies of the Left, then they need to rely on someone else to protect them from the high taxes and regulations Democrats want to force on them. “You can’t placate to the far-Left mob — especially when they come out and they lie,” Loudermilk shook his head, “and then expect us to… support you the way that we have in the past when you’re just going to turn around and stab Americans — not Republican politicians — but stab Americans in the back.”

Originally published here.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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