Voter Suppression Facing Economic Retaliation
In response the the chaos that followed the 2020 presidential election, several states are taking action to restrict voter registration and voting rights. Georgia, for example, has become the poster child for the movement. Georgia’s new voting law has inspired a divisive national debate about democracy and voter suppression. Republicans are selling the movement as one that promotes election integrity.
The new Georgia law is obviously part of a political power grab. It is an attempt to win elections by changing the rules rather than earning more votes. It undermines public opinion and democracy, while challenging an emerging set of corporate values. Several corporations and even professional sports are criticizing the movement. In fact, the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game has been relocated from Atlanta to Denver in protest.
Just yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized corporations for sticking their nose into politics. Does that mean that he will no longer accept corporate donations (dark money) to his corrupt campaign or to the GOP? It makes for an interesting political showdown. Who’s leading whom? Who’s serving whom in American politics? Corporate influence has always shaped the American political agenda more than citizens. Have we reached a fork in the road?
Corporations are typically known for being large, cold institutions focused on production, profits and power.
They have been untouchable ivory towers, but consumers, employees and stockholders are applying more pressure for transparency and accountability. In the past, disgruntled consumers had few options to express displeasure. Thanks to social media and the Internet, the game has changed and consumers are responding:
- 87 percent of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocates for an important issue;
- 73 percent of millennials will spend more on a product, if it’s from a sustainable brand; and
- 81 percent of millennials expect their favorite companies to be responsible citizens.
Social media and big data have made information about government and corporations more transparent than ever.
Actions and policies once hidden in the shadows of bureaucracy are easily discovered and publicized by the masses. Such access, for example, enabled Edward Snowden to unveil the mass US government surveillance program on American citizens.
Corporations are under increased scrutiny and market pressure. Brand managers must be more transparent, responsive and proactive than ever. Today employees are among the most vocal stakeholder groups demanding corporate change. Activist investors at publicly traded companies also are attempting to change corporations. Corporate activism is on the rise. Will it last and will it make a difference in the world?