Because conservatives love the free market, don’t hate the rich, and generally understand that having successful corporations is a good thing for the country, we’re cheap dates for businesses. These corporations know that when it comes time to cut taxes, cut regulations, kneecap unions, or generally make life easier for them, conservatives are going to be there for them. The problem is that this isn’t a mutually beneficial relationship. The corporations are happy to use conservatives when it’s convenient for them, but meanwhile, they’re wining and dining the Left on a regular basis.
This is not how it should work.
For example, even if it’s not to the advantage of unions to support Democrats over the short haul, they stick with the Left because they understand where their bread is going to be buttered over the long run. On the other hand, many corporations have made very different calculations. These businesses think conservative politicians are so stupid that they will continue to blindly support corporations that spit in their faces while liberal politicians can be brought over to their side if they are wooed. Guess what? For the most part, that assessment has turned out to be correct. Grassroots conservatives may get spitting mad at corporations that make a big deal about being woke, but for the most part, Republican politicians have given them a free ride.
That’s why one of the best things Donald Trump did as president was going after the NFL over their decision to allow the unpatriotic disrespect of our flag at their games. For the first time, a Republican politician started changing the rules of the game. As I wrote in National Review,
A lot of conservatives are tired of the double standard. They just want to watch an NFL game or a movie without having liberal politics slammed down their throat. They’re disgusted by the fact that they’re treated like dirt by corporations like the NFL, ESPN, Apple, and Starbucks while liberalism is openly embraced. Of course, from a purely business perspective, it’s almost hard to blame the companies. If conservatives are always going to defend these corporations and say, “Thank you, Sir; may I have another?” when they smack us around because of our principles, while liberals demand special treatment, it makes all the sense in the world for them to cater to liberals. So, when Trump goes after the NFL, what many conservatives see is someone doing something that matters more than the next 1,000 essays that we’ll write. Guess what? They’re probably right…
Of course, that’s just it. These corporations are paying a certain price for waking with grassroots conservatives. As far as people like me are concerned, the NBA and NFL can go to hell, I’m not buying Starbucks and I don’t have any interest in the latest overpriced Apple phone. However, the message still hasn’t entirely gotten through because Republican politicians keep catering to these corporations.
That needs to change and… it’s starting to happen. Not so long ago, Marco Rubio made a point of noting that he was supporting unions against Amazon because Amazon had been anti-Republican:
When the conflict is between working Americans and a company whose leadership has decided to wage culture war against working-class values, the choice is easy — I support the workers. And that’s why I stand with those at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse today. https://t.co/5e2mtepXmY
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 12, 2021
For decades, companies like Amazon have been allies of the left in the culture war, but when their bottom line is threatened they turn to conservatives to save them. Republicans have rightly understood the dangers posed by the unchecked influence of labor unions. Adversarial relations between labor and management are wrong. They are wrong for both workers and our nation’s economic competitiveness.
But the days of conservatives being taken for granted by the business community are over.
Here’s my standard: When the conflict is between working Americans and a company whose leadership has decided to wage culture war against working-class values, the choice is easy — I support the workers. And that’s why I stand with those at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse today.
More recently, when Major League Baseball rather bizarrely decided to weigh in on the side of making it easier to commit voter fraud in Georgia because they were trying to cater to Democrats, Republicans made a show of stepping up to punish them.
Why does @MLB still have antitrust immunity? It’s time for the federal government to stop granting special privileges to specific, favored corporations—especially those that punish their political opponents. https://t.co/k3GIZuGYHB
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) April 2, 2021
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 2, 2021
Along similar lines, the House in Georgia voted to repeal Delta’s tax breaks after that company’s CEO criticized the GOP’s new bill designed to prevent voter fraud.
Of course, some of the usual suspects on the Right don’t like all of this, but respectfully, they need to stop treating politics like some kind of theoretical exercise in a textbook. Back in the real world, Republicans have foolishly ceded institution after institution to the Left without a fight. We’ve allowed the Left to take over the public schools, the mainstream media, social media, and Hollywood. We even stood by and watched as they ruined the Boy Scouts and we are mostly ignoring their new attempts to dominate the military. At some point, conservatives need to come down from their ivory towers, stop being so complacent, and start demanding that our representatives in D.C. defend us. Corporations that every so often seems to need the help of conservative politicians should actually be low-hanging fruit.
If those corporations don’t understand that, then let’s look for legislative opportunities to burn one or two to the ground and see if the rest of them learn from that. Break up a monopoly or two. Block aid to a struggling airline and let it go out of business. Let’s pull some tax cuts for corporations or take a walk the next time businesses desperately need help fighting off a Democrat endorsed corporate tax increase. We don’t need lockstep obedience, but it is time for Republican politicians to make it absolutely clear that they’re done being cheap dates for the business world.