During election season, major companies often donate to both parties' national conventions. This year, however, one big player is opting out. Last week, Apple announced it would refrain from donating materials and support to the 2016 Republican convention, "citing Donald Trump's controversial comments about women, immigrants, and minorities."
As a conservative, I detest Trump, his pomp, and his works. His campaign looks more and more like a trainwreck as Trump focuses away from battleground states, doesn't raise money, and doesn't fill out his staff. More importantly, the predicted "pivot" to a general election populist theme has never happened. Instead, Trump has doubled down on the white identity politics that delivered him the GOP nomination. As a result, he looks less like just a terrible candidate, and more like a toxic person who needs to be removed from polite society. Moreover, he has wrecked the party I support, and is actively engaged in destroying the political movement I believe in.
But if there's anything that could make me want to support Trump, it's this new breathtaking display of hypocrisy from Apple.
Apple is refusing to lend its support to a movement based on its own ideological and moral standards. But remember, it was only a few months ago that Apple boycotted North Carolina after the state made it legal to do just that: refuse service to customers on ideological or moral grounds. Double standards, anyone? And as Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is openly gay, was taking the forefront in a corporate boycott of so-called "anti-LGBT" bills in places like North Carolina and Indiana, he was also assiduously courting business in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, where homosexual activity is actually illegal. Cook certainly doesn't seem to feel a burning moral need to boycott India, a place where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment. Instead, back in May, he received a warm welcome from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two sat down to talk shop about Apple's expansion into the world's largest democracy.
And there's another layer of hypocrisy there. Tim Cook's rise through the corporate ranks at Apple isn't due to his magic touch with design or technology, but another forte that has been a bigger source of controversy to the firm: its world-beating logistical capabilities, which rely on a deep and profound relationship with China and Chinese-based manufacturers. If our media wasn't so invested in a "pro-LGBT heroes vs. anti-LGBT villains" narrative, journalists might have taken some time to question the decency of a person (and the company he runs) who has created so much shareholder value, and such enviable profit margins, all thanks to a congenial relationship with an authoritarian-productivist atheist regime.
A large share of Apple's profit margins depend on the strength of the Chinese manufacturing sector and well-lubricated trade routes. It can't have escaped anyone's notice that, besides condemnable "comments about women, immigrants, and minorities," a big part of Donald Trump's campaign focuses on redefining the United States' trade relationships, especially with China. This could be very bad for Apple's profit margins. Regardless of the merits of the protectionist argument, can anyone claim with a straight face that this most recent move by the CEO of the biggest, most profitable company in America is wholly untainted by cynical motives?
Apple's actions only confirm the narrative at the heart of the Trump campaign: There are two Americas, Upper America and Lower America, and not only does Upper America rig the game to enrich itself at the expense of Lower America, but Upper America despises Lower America, and will make it swallow not only the socioeconomic regime it likes, but also its values — or else.
As always, populist success is a consequence of elite failure.