For Whom Coca-Cola’s Bell Tolls

U.S. Republicans have declared war on the excessive political activity of corporations.

It seems as though the American Republican Party (long considered an ally of big business) has done a complete ideological about-face and now criticizes the active political involvement of large companies. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned that corporations will not be allowed to form a parallel government.

“From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government. Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order,” promised McConnell fiercely, who is de facto the most important Republican in Washington, D.C. He declared that companies should not use economic blackmail, spread disinformation or support “bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.”

Such radical criticism was a response to a law recently passed in Georgia, now infamous for its central role in the 2020 election scandal. The state was Donald Trump’s last hope. The former president also claimed that there was reason to believe that election fraud had occurred.

As a result of these disputes, the state government voted on an election reform bill and Gov. Brian Kemp (a Republican) signed it into law. Now, Georgia’s state election board can intervene in any of the state’s 159 county election boards (but not more than four at once) and appoint temporary chairs of these election boards, which will have the authority to hire and fire employees. Democrats believe that Georgia’s state election board, which is in Republican hands, will try to influence elections. Republicans, on the other hand, assert that the new law will help make the voting process more efficient.

The new law also makes it illegal to give out food and water and provide other goods and services to people waiting in line to vote. According to Republicans, this will prevent voters from being bribed. But Democrats lament the cruelty of this new measure and claim that it harms those NGOs which encourage people to vote.

The time for runoffs has also been shortened from nine weeks to four. Republicans claim that the voting process will now become less exhausting.

Democrats maintain that shortening the early voting period and putting additional restrictions on mail-in ballots will make it more difficult for poor Americans and minorities to vote.

The rules concerning absentee ballots are now stricter. In prior years, an absentee ballot could be requested up to 49 days prior to election day; now, that period has been shortened to 29 days. Furthermore, voters are required to present an ID at the polls, whereas previously, only a signature was required. Mobile voting units are now illegal.

Lawsuits have already been filed in Georgia’s courts to fight the new law. These cases specifically bring attention to the fact that it is negatively affecting African Americans. Democratic President Joe Biden has also voiced his criticism.

And then, big corporations decided to join the fight against the new law. Major League Baseball is boycotting Georgia and will not hold its 2021 All-Star Game there, thus making the state lose millions of dollars in revenue. Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola have also come forward with criticism of the new voting law.

James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola, published a statement on the company’s website: “We want to be crystal clear and state unambiguously that we are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation.” He goes on to clarify that Coca-Cola “oppos[es] measures in the bills that would diminish or deter access to voting.”

Social media has both supported and attacked these opinions. Users pointed out that Delta Airlines criticize the new law that requires an ID to be brought to a poll, yet themselves require an ID for boarding.

When it was pointed out to McConnell that previously he had not been against the involvement of corporations in politics, he responded: “Big corporations have a right to participate in the political process. But they need to find a way to do that without alienating large groups of people. Republicans also drink Coca-Cola, fly on airplanes and like baseball.” He simply asked corporations to act with more restraint.

“Americans don’t want and don’t need big corporations to spread disinformation and lean to the left during each new scandal,” declared McConnell.

He did not specify which consequences big corporations would incur for their actions. However, Trump called for a boycott of the above-mentioned companies, and Georgia lawmakers have asked to remove Coca-Cola drinks from their offices. Some Republicans have also threatened to use antitrust laws to sue MLB.

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