The 6 Reasons that Many Corporations are Abandoning the GOP to Embrace Progressive Policies
Generally corporations try to stay out of high profile political conflicts like Georgia's new voting suppression law. Angering some segment of the electorate is just not good for business. Corporate leaders would prefer to influence public policy through lobbying and donations as they have for generations. That has begun to change, however. Large corporations like Coke, Verizon, Amazon, Google and many others are becoming more vocal in support of issues such as gun restrictions, social justice, and LGBT rights, and recently many have issued statements opposing Georgia's new voting restrictions.
Conservative pundits lament what they call "Woke Capital[ism]" and on Tuesday, Sen. Mitch McConnell issued a warning [which he later walked back a bit] to corporate America to stay out of politics.
New York Times: “My warning, if you will, to corporate America is to stay out of politics. It’s not what you’re designed for. And don’t be intimidated by the left into taking up causes that put you right in the middle of America’s greatest political debates.”
Of course, McConnell never had a problem with "corporate political speech" in favor of gutting environmental regulations or lowering the corporate tax rate. He's just a bit sensitive about being criticized by organizations that have benefited from the GOP's long history of corporate-friendly tax policies. But, America's CEOs are paid to plan for tomorrow and the Democratic party is offering a vision for the 21st century that broadly aligns with policies they believe will be good for business and please both their customers and their employees. Five examples:
1. Race: For the first time, more than half of the nation's population under the age of 15 are children of color according to recent Census Bureau estimates. Corporations understand that the workforce of the future will be extremely diverse, and the racial and ethnic divisiveness of Trumpism just makes their job of crafting a cohesive team of professionals much more difficult. White nationalism might play well in some congressional districts in the rural south, but it's anathema to human resource managers whose job it is to acquire the best talent and provide equal opportunities for advancement. So, of course they are going to support progressive social justice initiatives that positively impact a growing segment of their work force. And, yes, that includes voting rights.
2. LGBT Issues: Similarly, white evangelical Christian opposition to LGBT rights has absolutely no place in the business world. Except for a few corporate outliers, no one cares who you sleep with, or marry. GOP opposition to laws that ban LBGT employment discrimination are widely derided as sops to boomers and religious conservatives and both are shrinking elements of society.
3. Women: About 56% of those in college today are women and [sorry guys] they are the future of the professional corporate workforce. Their time has come more slowly than some would like, but few doubt their growing influence in business. And, the vast majority of professional women support progressive initiatives concerning reproductive rights, family leave, and affordable child care. The Democratic Party embraced those issues decades ago and have offered innovative solutions. The GOP won't even get behind the effort to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
4. Marketing to Young People & the Affluent: Appealing to senior citizens may still be a good way to win elections, but it's a poor vehicle to sell consumer goods and services. Most companies today focus their marketing on affluent [professional, generally college educated] Millenials and Generation Z. And, as we have documented many times before, younger voters and college educated professionals are largely abandoning the Republican Party because of "culture war" issues, and corporate CEOs are simply following their customer base.
5. The Immigration Debate: Across the board, CEOs in meat packing, construction, and the tech sector understand that America is going to need more immigrants in the 21st century to overcome America's "baby bust." Yes, there are important differences in how one might reform our immigration system and address the millions of undocumented workers already residing here, but demonizing immigrants as rapists and drug dealers and building walls is not helpful to a rational debate. Corporate America wants a fact and data driven conversation about the future of immigration policy and the GOP just views it as a wedge issue to drive their base to the polls.
6. Winning the Future: No CEO likes the fact that President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan is financed with corporate tax hikes, but they also understand that doing nothing is no longer an option. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos acknowledged that this week when he publicly backed Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan. We discussed this earlier in the week:
Illuminate: "In the short-run [Biden's plan] might put a dent in corporate profits, but companies will garner tremendous advantages resulting from faster growth and the modern infrastructure they need to remain completive in the global economy. Make no mistake, corporate America will benefit greatly from Biden's plan and that will likely mute their opposition. Additionally, they realize this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a bill through Congress to address the nation's infrastructure concerns."
"Woke capitalism," as some conservatives refer to it, isn't a new phenomenon; it's just corporate America following self-interest and acknowledging the future.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content