Big employers in the Atlanta area, including Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, on Wednesday turned to confronting Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who signed law critics to say that Jim Crow’s racism is reviving.
The measure created new obstacles to voting, reduced the number of drop boxes in densely populated areas of African Americans, and allowed the state to intervene to assert control of elections in democratic counties. It shortened the time for absentee ballots and introduced new registration requirements, which campaigners said were aimed at black voters.
After Delta Air Lines initially faintly expressed its support for voting rights and basically accepted the GOP’s legal provisions earlier this week, the airline’s CEO Ed Bastian told us on Wednesday. The employee posted a memo to blow it up-saying he now has enough time to understand its true effect.
Bastian said: “It is clear that the bill contains provisions that will make it difficult for many underrepresented voters, especially black voters, to exercise their constitutional rights to elect their representatives. This is wrong.”
Coca-Cola Chief Executive James Quincey told CNBC on Wednesday that his company “has been opposed to this legislation” and called it “unacceptable” under strong pressure from civil rights organizations to take a tougher stance against the soft drink giant. . Both Delta and Coca-Cola have been attacked by hashtag campaigns on social media that call for boycotts.
Cynics may argue that large companies eager to condemn the law usually act like large corporations to protect their brand reputation and avoid alienating their customer base on fierce political issues.
The time required to generate a backlash explains the Republican state legislators’ eagerness to speed them up to the governor’s seat earlier this month. However, it is difficult for some of the most advanced companies in the world to seriously claim that it took a while to find out what was on the bill.
2020 election shock wave
The change in corporate attitudes towards legislation reflects the reverberating shock waves of the 2020 election and Trump’s destruction of the tradition of peaceful transfer of power in order to overthrow the election failure. Like every citizen and American entity, people are calling on big companies to make choices that they may want to avoid where they fall into the chasm-especially because the democratic system that makes them strong is still under attack.
Today, whether the Democrats and voting rights activists have strong allies to fight a wave of voter suppression measures in multiple states will be confirmed by the event. The Democratic Party of Georgia said that the CEOs of Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines were correct in criticizing the law, but they should now firmly support the two Democratic Senate bills sent by Washington to the Senate, which will help overturn the vote in Georgia and other states. limit.
The legislation will overturn many provisions of Republican laws and bills in Georgia, Texas, Arizona and other states by establishing national voter standards. But even if some Senate Democrats are cautious about certain details, it faces daunting prospects. In order for them to be passed, Democrats may have to abolish the tradition of waste paper tradition to trigger a political fire, which actually means that a majority of 60 votes must be passed to pass the main legislation.
“We look forward to working with Georgia companies such as Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines as true partners to resolve these major issues that seriously affect the civil rights of Georgians and all Americans,” Peach State Democratic Party Chairman Nikima Williams accepted Said in the interview. Keep the pressure statement.
The company’s face changed
The critical statements of company leaders on Georgia law underscore the sensitivity of large companies to public opinion-at least in the short term. They may also reflect the pressure of the huge workforce from Georgia and the judgment of future consumers. Long-term demographic trends are not conducive to white conservative political leaders, and the diversity they face may drown out their cultural populism in the coming decades. Companies that go the wrong way in the equation may reduce profits in the next few years.
Black business leaders led by former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier worked hard to get the corporate world to ask more companies to speak , In order to make their company colleagues occupy a more favorable position to oppose the suppression of voters.
Chenault stated on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”: “The company must stand up, there is no middle ground.”
The advertisement said: “The new law and other similar laws are undemocratic and non-American. They are wrong.” “Nothing is wrong. We have tried to deprive our fellow Americans of the opportunity to express our voice in the ballot box, so we have seen it. Through this script.”
The Republican Governor of Georgia, Kemp, also appeared on CNBC and strongly overthrew the CEOs on the grounds that they were critical of the legal terms and did not understand.
The governor argued that critics ignored the fact that the new law now requires every county in Georgia to provide a drop-in box in order to collect early votes. But he did not mention the new restrictions on the number of allowed drop boxes and access time, which actually made it more difficult to vote in democratic counties plagued by long election days.
In a statement, Kemp also attacked Delta’s chief executive Bastian’s criticism of the law, saying that requiring people to show official documents such as a driver’s license to allow people to vote or board a flight There is no difference.
Feeling pressure next to exercise
The intervention of the company’s CEO marked the success of the pressure campaign of the Democratic Party and civil rights organizations in Georgia, which is now a key swing state. Biden became the first Democrat to win the state since 1992, and the party was also responsible for keeping his party under the control of the 50-50 Senate in two additional elections in January.
The voting law will ensure a burning race for the governor’s mansion in 2022-which may put Camp in a rematch with voting contender and former Georgia House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, who will rematch the state in November. Played a key role in the process of turning blue.
She called on business leaders to recognize the fact that Republicans are trying to introduce new voting laws across the country in response to Trump’s defeat. She said that large companies should also refuse to make campaign contributions to the legislators who suppress votes in order to criticize them.
Abrams wrote: “I ask like-minded Americans to maintain the company’s own values by measuring their actions and asking them to stand with us.”
The next frontier of the pressure movement against Georgia law may be sports. Before the opening day on Thursday, the Major League Baseball Players Association stated that it was willing to discuss this year’s All-Star Game outside of Georgia. The state’s politics may intervene in the Masters tournament to be held at Augusta National Golf Club next week, which is the first golf major of the year.
The leading civil rights organization, the National Black Justice Coalition, has asked the PGA Tour to withdraw from the competition. As Lee Elder joins Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as honorary starters, making his debut at this year’s Masters is a matter of race.
Elder was the first black player to participate in the game in 1975, and his selection is widely regarded as an exclusive club trying to solve the mistakes of the past because most of his history has not accepted African Americans. After the murder of George Floyd, the elder’s honor was announced in the national competition. The police suspected of the death is currently being tried in Minneapolis.
(AT&T, which owns CNN, is a long-term sponsor of the Masters.)
CNN’s Chris Isidore and Fredreka Schouten contributed to this report.