Corporate boycott of donations to GOP election integrity skeptics backfires as seismic shift in fundraising channels small donations to Trump allies
The political-media establishment of the U.S. saw the January 6 incursion at the U.S. Capitol as the means of devastating the GOP and forever discrediting all those who dare to question the integrity of the past presidential election. Many large companies self-righteously announced they would no longer donate to the 147 Republicans who voted against certification of the Electoral College vote. They clearly intended to starve their re-election campaigns and drive them from the public square.
It has backfired spectacularly. Donations are up substantially to the leading critics, as small donors more than replace any loss of corporate funds. Reuters reports, comically discrediting itself with all the editorializing about "false" claims of election fraud in what is supposed to be a straight news story.
If anything, the biggest backers of Trump's false election-fraud narrative — such as Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene — have been rewarded with a flood of grassroots donations, more than offsetting the loss of corporate money. And contributions from both small donors and rich individuals looking to fight the Democratic agenda have poured into the party's fundraising apparatus.
What makes me believe that this is no flash in the pan is that a trend has been brewing, indicating that a populist revolution is underway, and the populace realizes that it must cough up cash or else surrender to the oligarchy.
The boycott's limited impact underscores the diminishing role of corporate money in U.S. politics. Individual donations of $200 or less have made up a growing share of campaign money in recent years, while the share given by corporate America shrinks. That trend has accelerated with the rise of anti-establishment figures on both the right and left, such as Trump and progressive firebrand Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator.
Yes, lefties like Sanders and AOC are part of the populist surge, make no mistake. And while their ideas may be repugnant in many respects, they do share skepticism toward oligarchs and may be able to make common cause in limiting further the ability of corporations to buy influence. In point of fact, corporations already are unable to make direct donations to political candidates and must resort to the smokescreen of collecting "individual" donations from their well compensated executives and then "bundling" them into substantial sums intended to buy support for their agendas, especially open borders, but also maintaining the legal fiction that Facebook and Twitter aren't "publishers," but rather "open forums," so they can't be sued for posts they host — even though they censor the crap out of conservatives.
So angry are the deplorables that they are sending more money to GOP candidates than the oligarchs and small donors are sending to the Dems:
Reuters examined contributions by more than 45 corporate donor committees that vowed to cut off the 147 Republicans — eight senators and 139 members of the House of Representatives. The review found that the political action committees (PACs) gave about $5 million to the lawmakers during the 2019-2020 election cycle — or only about 1% of the money the lawmakers raised, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosures.
By comparison, Republican fundraising operations supporting Senate and House candidates raked in a combined $15.8 million in January alone on the strength of small-dollar donations. These groups outraised their Democratic counterparts by more than $2 million that month, regulatory filings show.
I spent a major part of my adult life studying and advising major corporations and believe that when it comes to politics (and social issues, too), they are mostly risk-averse and are not motivated by any principles beyond protecting next quarter's earnings. They are also highly vulnerable to pressure from elite institutions and academia, now dominated by the left and supplying a stream of brainwashed younger recruits to bureaucracies not just in corporations, but in the media, whose criticism is greatly feared by corporate bureaucrats.
That is why they are so easily intimidated by social media campaigns and what look like popular sentiments, when, in fact, they may be less favored by the general public than it would superficially seem. See, for example, Gillette's disastrous embrace of feminist anti-male propaganda that cost it billions, or Coca-Cola's surrender to racist antiracism right now.
Second thoughts already are occurring to the corporate boycotters of the GOP:
In a sign the corporate backlash may already be fading, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's leading business lobby, said Friday that it has decided not to boycott the Republican lawmakers after discussions with more than 100 companies.
We are at a make-or-break moment, with Democrats attempting to push through H.R. 1, an unconstitutional federal takeover of election regulations, institutionalizing measures like mass mail-in ballot distribution with no verification that would empower cheating forever, in effect creating a one-party state. They do this as many of the gains of the Trump years are being erased, with hugely unpleasant consequences for ordinary Americans: open borders, soaring gasoline prices, dependence on foreign supplies of oil, and rising crime. Dems are trying to bypass the filibuster on H.R. 1. If they succeed and the SCOTUS declines to throw it out, despite the Constitution clearly giving power to state legislatures to regulate elections, then the coup will be complete. But that is far from inevitable, especially if Republicans go full throttle in pointing out the grave threat to legitimate elections that it creates. Biden's plummeting approval ratings and the specter of a normal midterm shift of power away from the new president's party threaten the Democrats' hold on power unless they change the rules in their favor. Democrats and the oligarchs they serve fear the ordinary Americans, the deplorables, grabbing back political power and electing officials who will implement the policies that benefit them. The problem is that too many of the deplorables get it and are willing to open their wallets as never before.
As I wrote above, corporate managers are risk-averse. If they see populism as an inevitable wave, they will get behind it with their donations, if only to gain some influence and protection, softening the blows that may come their way.
There is a lot of history yet to be written before Americans return to the polls in 2022 and 2024. Despair seems to be the default emotion for conservatives right now. I dissent, for I believe that their institutional and media dominance has blinded progressives to the extent of their own unpopularity.