Whoa! A leading Republican blowing up American businesses – long the cornerstone of GOP fundraising? Holy moly!
But, upon closer examination, there is actually an explanation for it all. And, yes, it has everything to do with politics.
Start here: There is no doubt that the revolutionary populist vision of the Republican Party pushed by former President Donald Trump has put the Grand Old Party at greater disagreement with its longtime business allies than at any time in modern political memory. .
The US Chamber of Commerce was openly suspicious of Trump’s nativist immigration policies. And many businesses were scared enough by the insurgency in the U.S. capital on Jan.6 that they promised to avoid donating to any Republican politician who voted to oppose the Electoral College vote.
“Boycott all awakened companies that do not want voter identification and free and fair elections,” the former president said in a statement Tuesday morning. (And, no, I have no idea why “Free Elections” and “Fair Elections” are capitalized in this statement. Literally none.)
So, this is all true. But don’t be fooled into thinking that corporate America and the Republican Party are going to go their separate ways for a significant period of time.
Here’s why: Businesses know Republicans, in general, will seek to protect their long-term interests (and by that I mean, uh, money) much better than the Democratic Party. And Republican politicians – including McConnell – know they need corporate financial contributions to fund their campaigns, especially as they seek to reclaim the House and Senate majorities they lost in the past. Trump era.
Corporate America is well aware of McConnell’s past in pushing them to spend their money on campaigns. (Just as McConnell is well knowing how many corporate dollars have been spent to support Republican candidates since 2010.)
So, given all of that, here’s what McConnell is doing. He knows American businesses are all about results – how can they conserve as much of their money as possible. And that companies believe – and are amply right about the past at believe – that the Republican Party is the party most likely to make this happen.
Which means that attacking corporations – and throwing a bone to Trump’s populists with a nod to supposed “cancellation culture” – is tantamount to a gift for McConnell. He knows companies are not going to walk away from the GOP because he is throwing vague threats at them about the reaction to Georgia’s electoral law. And if they whitewash his criticism, McConnell can just ask his office to do some math on the difference in their bottom line between a 21% corporate tax rate and a 28% rate to remind them.
This is McConnell’s ultimate Trump – ahem – business card. And they know it.