Commentary from John Krull: what speaks and what does not | Notice
INDIANAPOLIS – Corporate giants Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines have driven Republicans in Georgia and elsewhere by spitting mad.
Coke and Delta did so by speaking out against Georgia’s restrictive new electoral law, which was designed by the GOP as a voter suppression exercise. This new law, among others, makes it a crime to bring food or water to people, even the elderly or sick, who stand in long queues.
The Republican power structure reacted with all the fury of a downcast, shocked – SHOCKED – lover to discover that what they thought was a true love marriage turned out to be a couple of convenience instead.
A union that could be dismissed when it ceased to be useful.
Gov. Brian Kemp and his fellow Georgia Republicans have threatened to revoke state tax breaks for Coke and Delta to keep the companies housed in Atlanta. US Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida and other pillars of the GOP have taken to widely incoherent diatribes about the “hypocrisy” of “awakened capitalism”.
It turns out there is a fury worse than that of a despised woman.
It belongs to politicians who, quite late in life, find out how the world works.
One of those ways revolves around this basic truth: Companies don’t exist to respond to Republican Party tenders. Businesses exist to make money. Those who don’t make money cease to be businesses.
Most companies, including Coca and Delta, cannot make money and stay in business by selling their products and services only to Republicans. They need to be able to sell in increasingly diverse markets to be successful.
The loyalty of big business to the GOP or any other political party extends only to the cash register. Once Republican policies start costing businesses money, the GOP becomes a luxury businesses can no longer afford.
The Republicans can be forgiven for thinking theirs was an exclusive relationship.
A few years ago, a Republican lawmaker from Indiana told me about meetings Chamber of Commerce lobbyists have with the GOP caucus.
“Words change from time to time,” the Republican lawmaker told me. “But the message is still the same: we own you.”
Shrewd observers understand that property was, is, and always has been a matter of expediency, not eternal loyalty.
We’ve seen evidence of that here in Indiana.
When the Hoosier Republicans chose to push in for social conservatives and pass an ill-named and even more unfortunate measure called the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act – RFRA – the state’s largest employers came together and took over. broke with the GOP.
The RFRA – which would allow Hoosiers to discriminate against LGBTQ citizens on religious grounds – was likely to hunt investors and talent from the state. Smart businessmen cannot accept this because, again, they want to be able to sell their products and services to as many people as possible.
The sexual orientations of their clients do not matter. If their checks are cleared.
The GOP came to a similar misunderstanding in Georgia.
Republicans are rightly concerned that the demographics are against their party, and they want to restrict the franchise to try and hold back the tide. But that goes against the interests of Coke and Delta, who want to sell soft drinks and air flights to as many people as possible.
Abandoned GOP leaders can storm anything they want, but that is unlikely to make a difference. Kemp’s threats to take tax breaks from the company are empty and American business leaders know it. Politicians who hunt big employers buy themselves early and unplanned retirements.
The same goes for Rubio’s outburst of “awakened capitalism” and “hypocrisy”. His boast about the evil of companies doing business with China only underscores this point. These companies are doing business with China because there is money to be made there.
CEOs don’t do what they do in Georgia because they’re “awake.”
They do it because they are capitalists.
Expecting companies to put GOP interests ahead of theirs is like expecting a fish to ride a bicycle.
Fish don’t do that.
And businessmen do what they do.
John Krull is Principal of the Pulliam School of Journalism at Franklin College and editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.