Reprinted with permission from Roll Call
That Pepsi bottle on the counter looks so out of place. My husband has always been a Diet Coke man. It's a matter of principle, he tells me, even as he admits he prefers "The Real Thing." Coca-Cola's statement disapproving of Georgia's new voting restrictions was too little, too late, and that's that, he says. All of that puts the Atlanta-based soft drink giant in a bind, since even its belated critical stand was too much for backers of the bill, who are also banishing Coke from their own fridges, they say.
What's a company to do?
I can't feel too sorry for Coca-Cola, Delta, and the rest, though, since they've been playing the political game forever while pretending to be above it all. And I have to stifle a laugh at the Republican politicians who are admonishing corporations and sports leagues now that the bills the GOP instigated aren't getting a pass. These are the same pols who eagerly accepted campaign donations and good PR in days past.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is astute enough to recognize why his furrowed brow and outraged words are landing with a thud. It's why his story is constantly changing. He told companies to stay out of politics, was called on it, then said he meant to only offer advice that business leaders read the fine print before opening their mouths and closing their pocketbooks.
Carefully studying the legislation would be more than I'd wager Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp did, judging by the speed with which he signed the 98-page, GOP-led monster, after it raced through the state legislature, though I'm sure he was briefed on its intent. However, the arrest of duly elected Democratic state Rep. Park Cannon after she knocked on Kemp's door to witness the signing seemed to happen in excruciating slow motion.
Kemp's expressions of concern for Black-owned businesses hurt by Major League Baseball moving its All-Star Game from Georgia, after he prevented Cannon from witnessing the signing of a bill that would affect so many of her constituents, earns him a spot right alongside McConnell in the hypocrites' hall of fame.
Many Georgia Democratic politicians and activists, such as Stacey Abrams, Kemp's past and maybe future opponent, have reminded those who would boycott the state about the workers who would pay a price. But the blame for the punitive actions clearly lies at the feet of the lawmakers who rushed to fix an election system that was not broken — unless broken is defined as losing presidential and senatorial contests.
Devil's In The Details
Apparently, more and more companies are taking Kemp's advice to become informed about not only Georgia's bill but also voting legislation that Republican-controlled legislatures are rushing to pass across the country. The New York Times provided a handy deep dive into the Georgia law. Here are some lowlights: Voters will have less time to request absentee ballots; drop boxes still exist, but barely; if election problems arise, it will be more difficult to extend voting hours; and so much more.
What many find most disturbing in that and other bills are new rules that would give legislatures the right to overrule the will of voters. For instance, in Georgia, the GOP-led legislature is now empowered to suspend county election officials. Isn't that what Donald Trump dictated in his threatening calls to state officials?
How widespread is the threat to democracy? The Brennan Center for Justice estimated that, as of late March, legislators had introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states.
I, for one, would be happy to never hear the word "cancel" again, now that it's used as a mantra from the folks who want to cancel the will of the voters who favored Joe Biden. Did they honestly expect American citizens (many of whom work for or patronize those now-vocal corporations) to take it? After all the corporate statements last summer supporting equity and racial justice after George Floyd's deadly interaction with law enforcement, it was inevitable that demands to back up those words with action would follow.
Good For Business?
Recently, more than 100 chief executives and corporate leaders met virtually to discuss taking action to oppose the voting bills, including withholding investments from states that pass such measures and donations from politicians who support them. Get McConnell the smelling salts!
That's a little surprising since the usual corporate comfort zone is taking the tax breaks and hiring lots of lobbyists. So a certain amount of cynicism is allowed. Paying attention now must be good for business, or CEOs wouldn't be considering it. You also have to credit the 72 African American executives who signed a letter criticizing business as usual. Two of them — Kenneth Chenault, the former chief executive of American Express, and Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of Merck — reportedly helped lead the meeting.
In Michigan, leaders of Ford and General Motors joined other businesses based there to voice their opposition to GOP-sponsored election bills in that state and around the country. And more than a dozen top law firms have committed to forming what amounts to legal "SWAT teams" to fight the laws.
Remember when McConnell celebrated the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling that companies could finance election spending? "An important step" in restoring their First Amendment rights, he said. Mitt Romney famously said: "Corporations are people."
Well, people are going to have an opinion and perhaps, when prodded, a conscience. From now on, Georgia and states with laws on deck (a baseball reference in memory of a missed All-Star opportunity) have to decide if corporations are naughty children to be scolded and condescended to, or not.
For those without Fortune 500 bona fides, and only their vote as voice, why wouldn't that vote be protected as precious? Which brings me back to my husband, who reminds me, only half-jokingly, that not only is he doing his part, he's also in good company. Will Smith has decided that his next project is canceling plans to film in Georgia because of the state's freshly minted voting restrictions.
Bad boys, indeed.
Mary C. Curtis has worked at The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Charlotte Observer, as national correspondent for Politics Daily, and is a senior facilitator with The OpEd Project. Follow her on Twitter @mcurtisnc3.
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Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos
Tucker Carlson has been popular with white nationalists for awhile now. But he has cemented his reputation as one of their all-time immortals this week by proving not only that he can spew white-nationalist dogma on primetime TV and not get fired for it, but he can double down on the hatemongering and even gain the backing of conservative Jewish rabbis.
After Carlson regurgitated white-nationalist "replacement theory" in the context of American immigration and border issues last week, the Anti-Defamation League demanded Fox fire their most popular talk show host, and was refused by Fox's corporate heads. So as Carlson then piled on the theory this week, white nationalists and their "redpilled" followers were practically pumping their fists in glee.
Tucker Carlson doubles down on immigration 'replacement theory' www.youtube.com
"This week Tucker redpilled 4 million people and there's nothing liberals can do about it," tweeted Nick Fuentes, leader of the white-nationalist "Groyper Army" and its associated "America First" movement.
Fuentes later crowed again: "Daily reminder that replacement theory is now politically mainstream and there is nothing the ADL and SPLC can do about it."
"This segment is one of the best things Fox News has ever aired and was filled with ideas and talking points VDARE.com pioneered many years ago," the notorious white nationalist site VDare tweeted in response to Monday's segment in which Carlson doubled down harder on the "replacement theory" rhetoric. "You should watch the whole thing."
"Literal anti-white Jewish shit," responded Mike Peinovich, the white nationalist host of The Daily Shoah, to the ADL's criticism. "If what Tucker Carlson said was wrong, why not just argue with him and prove him to be so? Jews and their minions never present any arguments for their positions. Why should they be taken seriously?"
"Tucker Carlson confirms what white nationalists have been talking about for decades: the white population of the US and wider West is being deliberately and maliciously replaced," tweeted the white nationalist Way of the World account. "They mean to take away power from us in our own lands by making us an electoral and social irrelevance."
"Great segment mentioning unmentionable reality of demographic replacement," tweeted Kevin MacDonald, an anti-Semitic academic beloved by neo-Nazis. "Doesn't explicitly mention Whites but obviously implied." He then described Carlson's attack on the Anti-Defamation League as a "must-see for conservatives."
This is not the first time that Carlson has made exactly these claims: He has touted the same theoryregarding immigrants "replacing" current voters in various segments in the past couple of years. (It is, naturally, an utterly specious claim: Voting requires citizenship, meaning those new immigrants are not eligible even to apply for five years; the naturalization application process then typically takes 15 months. Moreover, the 700,000 new citizens who take the oath every year—after which they may finally vote—represent only 0.2% of the total U.S. population.)
Carlson already has a remarkable record of dabbling increasingly in white supremacist rhetoric dating back to 2006, including recently unearthed recordings of his ramblings on radio. His greatest hits include a regurgitation of neo-Nazi propaganda about "white genocide" in Africa, not to mention his mutual promotion of the white nationalist website VDare. There is a reason white supremacists love Carlson's show, and why they assiduously watch it in hopes of picking up pointers.
Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch defended Carlson, disingenuously claiming he had "decried and rejected replacement theory" when he said during the Thursday evening segment, "White replacement theory? No, no, this is a voting rights question."
Murdoch noted that the ADL had once honored his father, Rupert Murdoch, with a leadership award, to which ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt replied that the award was granted "over a decade ago, but let me be clear that we would not do so today, and it does not absolve you, him, the network, or its board from the moral failure of not taking action against Mr. Carlson."
And there was blowback for the ADL and Greenblatt. Former ADL chief Abraham Foxman criticized the callfor Carlson's firing: "Fox is not an anti-Semitic network," he said. "It's a lot of things but it's not an anti-Semitic network and it's certainly not an anti-Israel network."
In Israel, an organization of traditional orthodox rabbis, the Coalition for Jewish Values, attacked the ADL's stance, publishing a letter supported by 1,500 rabbis calling the accusation "grossly misplaced charges of antisemitism." It attacked Greenblatt, saying that "alas, the ADL has become markedly partisan under your leadership."
Carlson's Monday segment featured an unusually long 20-minute monologue in which Carlson dismissed his critics as "the usual chorus of hyper-aggressive liars" and reiterated his thesis—namely, that Democrats support mass immigration because it increases their electoral advantage and power.
He also attacked the ADL by claiming that it had itself embraced "replacement" theory—for Israel rather than the United States—in the past, pointing to a paper in which the ADL (then under Foxman's direction) argued against allowing more Palestinian refugees into Israel because it would lead to Jews becoming a "vulnerable minority" in their own nation.
"Why would any democratic nation make its own citizens less powerful?" Carlson said. "Isn't that the deepest betrayal of all? In the words of the ADL, why would a government subvert its own sovereign existence? Good question. Maybe ADL President Jonathan Greenblatt will join 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' some time to explain and tell us whether that same principle applies to the United States."
As Christopher Mathias notes, white nationalists were particularly enamored of this portion of the monologue, viewing it as the ultimate "gotcha" moment—one which, in fact, again echoed an argument they have made for decades.
"Demographic replacement, ADL, Israel, it's all there … a full redpill," commented Fuentes. "On primetime Fox News for 4 million mainstream conservatives. Can you feel it? We are inevitable."
Greenblatt was interviewed by CNN's Brian Stelter about the controversy, and noted that this reflects the raging epistemological battle that has warped Americans' sense of shared reality and induced millions into embracing false information:
This is the Trumpian war on truth that is still raging, it's raging because guys like Rupert Murdoch and his son, Lachlan Murdoch encourage it. It's raging because men like Paul Ryan sit silently on the Fox Corporation board of directors. Murdoch knows better. Ryan knows better. They know Tucker is cynically preying on his audience's fears, their fears of being replaced, fears of a changing, growing America. But the show goes on, the profits go on, they act like Tucker's invincible, they seem to think that he's the boss when in fact they are the bosses.
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