Can the Right Fight Corporate Power?
The Texas pro-life law has once again brought the Conservatives into conflict with the big corporations. Do we have the will and the opportunity to assert ourselves?
Oh, let’s go. A duly elected state legislature passed bill expressing the will of the people and the US Supreme Court refused to stop the act. Of course, several large corporations have declared war on the state and its democracy, New York Times get more companies to join the fight. Don’t hold your breath while you wait for the shy mass of the GOP to stand up to this managerial bullying.
I’m referring, of course, to the corporate revolt against Texas’s new pro-life law, Senate Act 8, which bans most abortions after six weeks of gestation. The prospect of implementation drew the ire of several local tech companies, including Austin-based Bumble and Dallas-based Match. “Bumble is founded and run by women, and from day one we’ve stood up for the most vulnerable,” Bumble said in an Instagram statement in which he vowed S.B. 8 (The vulnerability of the preborn, threatened by scissors and suction tubes, was lost at a company that facilitates casual connections).
Then Silicon Valley got involved. The ride-sharing apps Lyft and Uber promised to cover the legal costs of drivers who face criminal prosecution for “getting people where they need to go – especially women exercising their voting rights,” as Lyft CEO put it on Twitter formulated. Yelp boss Jeremy Stoppelman stammered similarly: “The effective abortion ban in Texas not only violates women’s rights to reproductive health care, but also endangers their health and safety.”
But the outrage of the corporations was apparently not enough Times, which ran a story on Saturday complaining that too many other mega-corporations were holding mothers. “When Texas legislature put restrictive voting legislation this year,” wrote reporter David Gelles, “American Airlines and Dell Technologies, two of the state’s largest employers, are early and vocal critics of the effort. But this week. . . both companies declined to comment [abortion] measure up.”
According to the Gray Lady, the silence is particularly reprehensible because it comes from companies that otherwise support liberal concerns. “Among those who wouldn’t say anything were McDonald’s, a sponsor of International Women’s Day; PwC, a major supporter of diversity and inclusion efforts; and Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, which last year sparked a backlash from companies against a restrictive voting law in Georgia, where they are headquartered. “
That kind of pressure works. Your average corporate flaw and their boss are likely to share that Times‘s view of S.B. 8, and even if they don’t, they live in utter fear of what the Times has to say about their company. The pressures American corporations put on other Red states can in turn inappropriately influence their policies: lawmakers in states that are less affluent and economically less dynamic than Texas, for example, might think twice before enacting similar laws (or Laws protecting children from the mutilation of trans ideology). when the Lone Star State comes under severe economic fire. In this way, corporate interference damages the one-man-one-vote principle; a few oligarchs from Silicon Valley block the democratic influence of millions.
Does the broader GOP matter? Do the party leaders see how uncontrolled C-suite wokesters will castrate the one area of national power that remains largely in the conservative column, namely the state legislatures and the governor’s mansions? Some do. “When American citizens work to protect the lives of innocent Americans, the left and corporations are threatening and trying to reverse the democratic process,” Missouri Senator Josh Hawley told me.
But Hawley is the honorable exception. Personalities like Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem have made it clear that they are joining the craziest version of corporate libertarianism. When large employers in their respective federal states abuse cultural legislation, the discussion is over. Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are trusted servants of American corporations, including Big Tech.
MAGA World has better instincts on these issues, but these instincts do not ultimately lead to a concrete political vision aimed at taming what was formerly called “the money power” in this country. The excessive power of corporations can only be countered by a sufficiently strong countervailing power: public power. But public power has always stressed the Jacksonian streak in American national life, of which MAGA is just the latest expression.
It is a persistent weakness in American populism, traced back to Jackson himself and his failure to tame the financial forces that threatened smallholder farmers. Richard Hofstadter reminds us of this in his teaching contract The American political tradition (1948), “The Jacksonians are caught between their hostility” to Eastern monetary power, as embodied in the National Bank, “and their unwillingness to replace it with adequate government credit control. The popular hatred of privileges and the prevailing laissez-faire ideology made an unfortunate combination. ”The same applies to MAGA’s sincere anger against Silicon Valley and other bastions of corporate power: MAGA supporters know the bitter taste of big tech censorship, but they did little to master the social media giants while they had the reins of the covenant.
However, we should not lose hope. The battle in Texas has the potential to rally the rights against the awakened upper class. After all, life itself is at stake: the life of premature babies, the life of a democracy.