After the passage of Georgia’s new voting law, woke capital didn’t hesitate to seize another opportunity to pander to the left. Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, Home-Deport, and Major League Baseball were all eager to remind the Democratic party where their loyalties lie. Never mind the fact that the corporate statements decrying the legislation were snap-judgements based on snap-reports that ludicrously oversimplified a complex issue. What were they supposed to do, not take sides in a political fight that has nothing to do with running their business? God forbid! These are modern corporations, and they get their orders from the ACLU’s Twitter account, thank you very much.
Before jumping into the political mosh-pit that is voting rights legislation, all these companies should have asked themselves: “Wait, do people actually want us to be doing this?” That’s the kind of question that occurs to responsible executives before they risk their business’ reputation in exchange for… nothing, as it turns out. In fact, it was less than nothing for Delta Air Lines, as the GOP-controlled Georgia House voted to strip Delta of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of tax-breaks.
In any event, the answer to that question is “No, people don’t want huge businesses involved in politics.” And we have the data to back it up. Yesterday, pollster Scott Rasmussen released a survey that has some worrying implications for corporate America’s professional panderers.
According to the poll, 59% of Americans think companies taking political positions “adds to divisiveness.” Just 17% disagree. Including over half of Democrats, so no-one can dismiss the findings as mere oversampling of Republicans. A related poll released by Mr. Rasmussen a day earlier found that 66% of Americans thought corporations should not be taking political positions. Again, that includes over half of Democrats.
No political coalition is asking for businesses to be fronts for activism. Not Republicans, not Democrats, not independents. If that conclusion wasn’t obvious enough already, there’s data to support it. Corporations are doing themselves no favors when they take stances on controversial, complicated, political issues.
And yet, as if their job is making journalists on Twitter happy, woke capital forges on. Delta Air Lines’ attack on the Georgia voting law fits perfectly with the pattern. But the consequences of corporate politicking are no longer merely rhetorical. Delta’s thoughtless compliance with the progressive social agenda resulted in a Republican House making a serious effort to punish them directly. It shouldn’t be a shock that Republicans would start to legislate against woke capital as public opinion turns against woke capital. This isn’t just empty political theatre, either; this is actual legislation that could carry actual consequences. All for the sake of an ultimately pointless statement attacking a policy that they had no business getting involved with in the first place.
Alongside the predictably formulaic denouncements rendered in nauseating corporate-speak, Major League Baseball responded to the voting law with something more material: pulling its All-Star Game out of Atlanta. Whichever executive made that decision ought to be aware of how dependent the sports industry is on the good graces of local and state government – and they ought to be aware that Republicans have a legislative trifecta in 23 states, which is 8 more than the Democrats have. Just something to keep in mind as Republicans make their unhappiness with MLB blindingly obvious.
Taking sides in a hotly contested political battle, the results of which have nothing to do with the company’s bottom line, is woke capital at its finest. That is precisely what the tide of public opinion, and increasingly public policy, is turning against. Big business can listen to reason and stop bowing to the left, or they can ignore the warning signs and carry on with the public relations strategy of “antagonizing most of the country.” Fair warning: if they elect to keep biting the hand that feeds them, then they shouldn’t be surprised when Republicans take the bowl away.