by Paul Bradford
Georgia Republicans want to make their elections work better after the 2020 disaster. They’ve proposed sensible measures to eliminate no-excuse absentee ballots, remove dubious ballot drop-off boxes, and reform early voting times. This effort would restore trust in the election process and ensure every ballot is legitimate. But, for some strange reason, this legislation has drawn the ire of the state’s business community.
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce last week expressed its “concern and opposition” to these measures in an official statement endorsed by Home Depot and Coca-Cola, two major corporations based in the Peach State. Black Lives Matter, Stacey Abrams, and other left-wing activists are pressuring these corporations and others to do more to oppose these election reform laws. They’re running TV and newspaper ads to strongarm companies into doing their bidding, and there’s a good chance the corporations eventually will bend the knee. Few corporations nowadays can resist the woke mobs.
The Chamber of Commerce is at the forefront of appearing to show support for BLM’s demands. This is a group that has worked hand-in-glove with Republicans for years. Why should they suddenly work to ensure Georgia elections permanently favor Democrats? Democrats aren’t going to roll back regulations, cut taxes, or grant the other corporate favors the Chamber demands. Why betray the political party seemingly most aligned with their agenda?
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a likely contender for president in 2024, has his own theory for this development.
“The Chamber is captured by its biggest multinational corporations, and they are more in support of those businesses than they are in support of open and competitive markets,” Cotton said in a fiery radio interview Tuesday with syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt. “I mean, the Chamber of Commerce long ago purged most, if not all, of its real Republicans in top ranks.”
The senator mocked the Chamber for endorsing liberal Democrats in 2020 who voted against the group’s stated interests as soon as they got into office.
Cotton also accused the Chamber of serving as “a front service for woke corporations [that] are trying to peddle anti-American theories and demanding that their employees get reeducated and indoctrinated on anti-American ideas, like the fact that somehow we’re all terribly racist, or every one of our institutions is racist, and we all need to go to reeducation camps.”
A Permanent Rift?
These are harsh words for a group many Republicans depend upon when it comes time to raise campaign cash.
It’s unlikely the Chamber will donate any money to Cotton’s 2024 bid, but the Arkansan wouldn’t be alone. The business group announced in January it likely would withhold funding for Republicans who challenged the 2020 presidential election results. Cotton was not one of them, which makes his criticism more noteworthy. That same announcement also condemned Donald Trump for “undermining our democratic institutions and our ideals.”
Could these events signal a permanent rift between the GOP and the Chamber of Commerce? Let’s hope so. The Chamber is firmly opposed to making America great again. The sooner it loses its influence over the Republican Party, the better.
Let’s go over some of its recent sins.
For the 2020 election, the Chamber joined forces with a left-wing cabal to deny Trump victory. It cooperated with unions, deep state operatives, Big Tech, and Black Lives Matter, according to Time. This cabal planned massive demonstrations if Trump won and worked to suppress information they didn’t like on the internet. The Chamber wasn’t bothered by this at all, as it appeared the business lobby preferred Joe Biden as president. Biden hasn’t sought to repay the favor, however.
For years, the Chamber has pushed the GOP to embrace amnesty for illegal aliens and mass immigration. It spent over $50 million in 2013 to lobby for the Gang of Eight amnesty plan. In 2018, the group demanded an immediate amnesty for at least 1 million illegals and publicly rebuked any attempts to restrict migration. Last year, it sued the Trump Administration for halting most immigration to protect American jobs in a devastated economy.
“If you want businesses to grow and the economy to rebound, you allow skilled workers to come here legally to work and contribute to the well-being of our nation; you don’t lock them out,” Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue (pictured above) wrote last year in a New York Times op-ed. “If you want the next revolutionary start-up to be founded in America, you welcome foreign students; you don’t threaten to upend their lives and send them home during the middle of a pandemic. And if you want children to grow up to reach their potential and live their American dream, you give them the tools and certainty to succeed; you don’t kick them out of the only country they’ve ever known.”
The Chamber recently praised Biden’s open borders initiatives that would undermine American sovereignty and American jobs. Its current immigration agenda expresses support for amnesty and the expansion of guest worker visas. This is a group that favors cheap foreign labor over the American worker.
The Chamber, of course, opposes trade protectionism to support American industry. It lambasted Trump for daring to impose tariffs on Communist China and renegotiate NAFTA. The business lobby believes we must depend on a hostile foreign power and allow our factories to go overseas for the sake of the almighty bottom line.
All-In for Woke Capital
The group also now supports the woke agenda. The Chamber’s president, Suzanne Clarke, wrote an op-ed last July that endorsed much of Black Lives Matter’s agenda. Clarke called for more diversity worship in the private sector, more racial preferences in hiring, more race-specific investment, and expansive criminal justice reform. This is not a group that touts law and order.
Various state chambers helped kill religious freedom bills that leftists deemed “anti-gay.” These chambers of commerce said such legislation, which aimed to protect religious groups from ruinous litigation for simply following their core beliefs, was bad for business. Apparently, letting criminals out of jail is much better for business than not forcing Catholic charities to violate their Catechism.
Cotton is exactly right about the Chamber of Commerce and its negative influence over Republican politics. This is a group that wants to have it both ways. It wants the traditional Republican economic plan mixed with the Democrats’ radical social engineering. That is unworkable; and Republican politicians should stop listening to the business lobby until it wisens up. The Chamber shouldn’t expect low taxes to go along with open borders.
If the GOP truly wants to put America First, it needs to put the Chamber of Commerce in its place.
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Paul Bradford is a Capitol Hill refugee now earning an honest living.
Photo “US Chamber of Commrce President Tom Donahue” by US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.