Money not actual speech
Republicans sound really angry about the criticism from some big private companies about Georgia's controversial new election law, especially Major League Baseball's decision to move its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in response. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned of unspecified "serious consequences" if corporations and other "parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government." Later in the day, McConnell told big businesses to "stay out of politics."
Statements like this from McConnell and other prominent Republican officials have led to speculation about the durability of the GOP's long alliance with corporate America on lower corporate taxes, less regulation, and other policies. But McConnell has also been "among the most outspoken champions of the role of big money in elections, promoting the free-flow of undisclosed dollars to campaigns as a form of Constitution-protected free speech," The Associated Press reports.
When McConnell celebrated the Supreme Court lifting political spending limits by "outside" groups in 2010's Citizens United, Politico's Bill Scher notes, he said, "For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process ... the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day." And a ruling laying the groundwork for Citizens United actually bears McConnell's name, Slate's Mark Joseph Stern adds:
Georgia GOP lawmakers have also threatened specific economic retaliation against Coca-Cola, Delta, and other companies that criticized their law. "The increasingly aggressive pushback against politically outspoken companies is the latest, and perhaps purest, illustration of a party at a philosophical crossroads," Politico reports. "During the 2017 GOP tax reform push, the party slashed the corporate rate from 35 to 21 percent. In return, they have been bolstered with industry money and political support. Now, however, they're betting that they can win on a backlash to the idea that political correctness has entered the boardroom and is irreversibly damaging conservative causes."