Mitch McConnell Warns Corporate Citizens To Shut Their Mouths, For Their Own Good
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is very concerned about American companies doing cancel culture to the poor downtrodden Republican-controlled legislatures of Georgia and Texas. So he's warning corporate America not to meddle with the primal forces of nature, because whether states let people vote is none of business's business. McConnell is just the latest and most powerful among a lot of Republicans threatening to do some cancel culture on businesses that (however reluctantly or belatedly) take a public stand in favor of the radical idea that voting should be easy for all Americans.
As you'd expect, it's the sort of flagrantly dishonest bullshit that McConnell has made a career of, so nod along with us and shout that you knew it. Include the curses and invective of your choice.
In a statement Monday, McConnell did that thing where Republicans pretend they just hate Big Money, even as they govern solely for corporate interests. He decried companies that have condemned Georgia's terrible new law, and Texas's pending voter suppression legislation, as big ol' meanies, complaining of a "coordinated campaign by powerful and wealthy people to mislead and bully the American people" by calling voter suppression laws exactly what they are. Nothing like a strong anti-bullying message from a man whose power plays make Nicolo Machiavelli's ghost say "Dude, take it down a peg."
McConnell feels especially hurt by the suggestion that all these measures aimed at making voting harder, especially for people of color, might somehow be similar to the evils of the Jim Crow era. Very unfair, because as McConnell points out, it is no longer the 1950s, so be grateful, won't you? He explains that "Nobody really thinks this current dispute comes anywhere near the horrific racist brutality of segregation," which we suppose makes a little bit of voter suppression perfectly OK. Surely no one could disagree that widespread disenfranchisement is less bad than complete disenfranchisement!
McConnell also seizes on one small part of the Georgia law, which will expand early voting in some rural counties, to suggest that Georgia is actually making voting easier, at least if you overlook all the stuff that limits voting. While he's at it, McConnell fibs about the entire law by focusing in on a piece by Washington Post factchecker Glenn Kessler that focused narrowly on one Biden inexactitude about the law. (TL;DR version: Biden said Georgia ends voting at 5 p.m. But that's actually only during early voting, and counties can choose to keep polls open up to 7 p.m.; Election Day voting times are unchanged.)
Even though Kessler did at least acknowledge that the Georgia law makes "significant procedural changes that potentially give more power to the GOP-controlled legislature" in elections, McConnell suggests all criticism of the law is fake news:
The Washington Post has repeatedly debunked White House lies about legislation in Georgia: 'In reality, Election Day hours were not changed and the opportunities to cast a ballot in early voting were expanded.'
We're sure looking forward to Kessler taking McConnell to task for leaving so much out! What, he hasn't yet? Well maybe soon.
But the real meat of McConnell's statement concerns those terrible corporations McConnell depends on for campaign cash. He warns that
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.
We suppose he may have a point about that "outrage-industrial complex," since Fox News probably doesn't appreciate the competition. If corporations don't stop doing cancel culture to poor Georgia, Texas, and other vote-suppressing states, McConnell warns, those beneficiaries of Citizens United will soon find out what it is to be cancelled in the depths of the Sloar, I can tell you!
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. Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order. Businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box. [Emphasis added — Dok Zoom]
Just to make sure he was being completely clear, McConnell expanded on his thoughts some:
"My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don't pick sides in these big fights," McConnell added in a news conference in Kentucky. McConnell, who has accepted $4.3 million in corporate money to fund his campaigns over the last five years, said he "found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics."
That's Mitch McConnell's version of free speech: Say stuff Republicans don't like, and you will pay dearly — also, make sure you send the check to my super-PAC so you won't run into those pesky spending limits for direct campaign donations.
As Judd Legum notes, Republicans are already talking about "serious consequences" like punishing Major League Baseball for condemning the voting law and moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta. That bit of corporate free speech just might be met by Congress repealing baseball's antitrust exemption, to teach MLB a lesson. Advocates of retaliating against baseball for its business decisions and political speech include such Republican free-speech warriors as Sens. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee.
Yes, this is where we point out that the government punishing a company for its speech really would violate the First Amendment, unlike, say, a private publisher deciding not to keep printing some of its books.
Other Republicans have proposed increasing taxes on companies that criticize voter suppression, or eliminating tax breaks put in place to lure their businesses to create some jobs. That'll learn 'em to "cancel" red states by criticizing their idiotic laws.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.