In light of the sharp swing to the Left that corporate America is taking – one that has resulted in the transplanting of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions approach from targeting Israel to being aimed at conservative policy preferences like election integrity and the protection of women’s sports. The fact is, at one time, the Republican Party did make its alliance with big business, often because agendas meshed around lower taxes.
These days, though, the growing corporate actions are changing the calculus – a lot. Many Republicans are rightly feeling that corporate America is breaking a long-standing agreement. After all, at one point, when asked to get political, NBA icon Michael Jordan said, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”
While that comment was made three decades ago, it also made a lot of sense. No CEO in their right mind would want to alienate a large portion of Americans. So, what changed? The thing is, political involvement isn’t even a bother. Businesses tend to want better economic conditions, and advocacy is part of the normal give-and-take in politics. Many people, Republican or Democrat, don’t have a big problem with it.
The recent spate of Big Tech censorship and the fact that corporations are acting on obvious lies, coming as the MAGA coalition is cementing its control of the Republican Party, are a different matter. There are several reasons this is happening.
One of the biggest, though, is the threat of coercion from elected officials on the Left. We saw this when Andrew Cuomo has used the threat of investigations to redline the National Rifle Association. We also saw this when National Review’s Dan McLaughlin noted that Marc Elias, a Democratic super-lawyer with Perkins Coie (the law firm tied to that infamous Steele Dossier), who a federal appeals court recently sanctioned, wrote a letter to corporate leaders demanding action against election integrity laws.” after “sanctioned by a federal appeals court.
This is a kissing cousin to Lois Lerner’s antics towards the Tea Party, part of the politicization of the Internal Revenue Service that took root during the Obama Administration. In this case, Elias is engaged in battlefield preparation for future elections and not just in hijacking the power of state legislatures to set election laws. Elias is also securing corporate America’s support – or, at least, its non-opposition – to left-wing agenda items.
Silicon Valley was the first domino they went after – simply because you can count the players that really matter (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, Amazon, PayPal, Yelp, Stripe, Square) on both your hands. Some combination of these businesses can destroy any ability to get a story out – see what was done to the New York Post, not just on the Hunter Biden laptop, but its expose on the real-estate holdings of a prominent member of Black Lives Matter.
Twitter’s ban of Project Veritas and its founder, James O’Keefe, came after the investigative journalism outlet released recordings of a CNN producer describing how the network acted against Republicans, as well as taking other steps to hide facts unfavorable to the Left. Not only that, the Parler take-down by Apple, Amazon, and Google raises the question as to whether these companies are colluding to maintain their stranglehold. But that was merely setting the stage.
Republicans were initially resistant to taking on major corporations, largely because, in one sense, the rise of Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and other major companies represent an important facet of the American dream: The notion that a good idea can help someone rise to incredible heights from modest – or relatively modest – circumstances. But now, with Big Tech and other major corporations taking sides after threats of boycotts and adverse governmental action from the Left, there is, at the very least, a refusal to unilaterally disarm.
In addition, the fact that so many battlefields were ceded to the Left made it easier for corporations to be flipped. In education, human resources, and even pop culture, the Right forgot that they had to show up to even have a chance of winning. Failing to show up made it possible for left-wing employees in those massive businesses to force them to join in the “woke” crusade. That crusade included the “fortification” of the 2020 election – which was at a minimum, rendering that election unfair. Now, they are playing catch-up, scrambling to build their own institutions before corporate America’s social-credit system hammers them.
The problem is easy to identify, but the solution is harder to figure out. For one thing, the alternatives are still very nascent, at the very least. As important as the Daily Wire’s signing of Gina Carano to produce and star in a film is, it isn’t building a franchise akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, or Godzilla. The fact that it is limited to Daily Wire subscribers means it isn’t likely to be as much of an office conversation topic the way Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad.
Other conservative studios are also just launching, and it’s too soon to tell when they will take off. It took Fox News several years to gain its position, and that was when we weren’t facing versions of Operation Chokepoint. Given how Apple, Google, and Amazon cooperated in taking down Parler, could a similar threat to the dominance of Netflix and Hollywood studios become the target of a similar takedown?
This isn’t to say they shouldn’t be supported, but it will be hard to completely get away from corporate America in the short-to-medium term. Walmart, Target, Amazon, and other major companies, both in and out of the tech sector, will still be around. One other factor is that the concern over Big Tech’s actions – and the rest of Big Business, for that matter – is extending beyond the MAGA coalition.
Equally important is making sure that the indoctrination that allows Big Business to “go woke” as opposed to telling the Left to stuff their outrageous demands where the sun doesn’t shine is put to a stop. Like it or not, education is as important as election integrity – if not more so. Getting the right curriculum in schools and making sure that students graduate can go to college or start working (say by being ready to learn a trade like auto repair or plumbing) is the long-term solution to getting business back on track. The good news is that action at the state and local level, where many education decisions are made, is far easier than it is at the national level.
Over the long haul, though, the relationship between Republicans and Big Business, including Big Tech, will never be the same. There is a loss of trust, similar to that between what became the MAGA coalition and the Republican/conservative establishments that fueled President Trump’s rise – and that trust level will never be the same between Big Business and the over 70 million Trump voters. But that may ultimately make for better results for America down the road.