Editorial: Winning strategy for the GOP?

Among the many fascinating stories of the week is the rising chorus of big business leaders coming out against Georgia’s moves to restrict voting access, as well as other Republican-led state legislatures embracing similarly restrictive laws.

Normally, the business world is content to throw their weight behind political candidates or parties on business policies that help their cause.

But the Republican effort to restrict voting access in Georgia, in particular, has been a step too far for many. Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star game out of the state and shifted it to Denver as a sign of protest. Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and others have openly denounced the state’s new rules, and others are rapidly signing on.

The politics of the matter are plain: Republicans openly acknowledge that their best chance of winning elections is by restricting voters access to the polls, actions that largely hinder minority voters. Democrats embrace the premise that majority vote is the essence of democracy and that one role of government is to make voting as accessible as possible to all legal voters.

Republicans allege their efforts are to reduce the possibility of fraudulent ballots, but it’s an obvious red herring. As the last election proved beyond a doubt, in court case after court case, American elections were found to be almost entirely fraud-free. The most obvious fraud in the country’s election system is that Republican states have too often denied minority voters their legal rights.

Corporate America understands this and is sending a message to the Republican party: they believe the democratic system will keep the nation strong, regardless of policies being advocated, and that restricting voting rights is a step toward autocratic government and a loss of democracy. If the Republican Party ventures down that path, these business leaders are saying, the party may lose their support.

Amazing, Republican leaders seem to be doubling down on their restrictive voting policies and warning businesses to stay out of the fray. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, actually threatened some of these big businesses when he told reporters in his home state: “Republicans drink Coca-Cola, too, and we fly, and we like baseball. It’s irritating one hell of a lot of Republican fans.” McConnell added that businesses have a right to express their political opinions, but preferred they did that through political donations.

“I’m not talking about political donations,” he said. “That’s fine. It’s legal. It’s appropriate. I’m talking about taking a position on a highly incendiary issue like this and punishing a community or state because you don’t like a particular law they passed. I just think it’s stupid.”

On the contrary, the height of stupidity is bashing corporate America’s right to express their opinions on an issue that most Americans understand is bad public policy — and, moreover, thinking that is a winning strategy for Republicans.

Angelo Lynn

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Addison County Independent