Republicans Pop off at Coca-Cola

April 26, 2021

"If politics isn't your business," Steve Tobak used to say, "keep your business out of politics!" That's a message Republicans are embracing a month into the Georgia election law fallout. Companies that raced into the fray, like Coca-Cola's CEO James Quincey, are finding out the hard way that getting involved in local issues isn't exactly a way to sell more soda. According to new polling, a majority of conservatives are thinking twice about quenching their thirst with a business that tried to quench America's ballot integrity.

Fifty-two percent of GOP voters, like myself, say they're less likely to buy Coke products now, Rasmussen Reports announced last week, spelling uneasy times ahead for one of the country's most well-known brands. "I want to be crystal clear," James Quincey, Coca-Cola's chief executive had said. "The Coca-Cola Company does not support this legislation, as it makes it harder for people to vote, not easier." Of course, as scores of people -- including Governor Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) -- pointed out, Quincey clearly hadn't read the law. If he had, he'd know that the state had actually done more to expand voting rights than to limit them. Either way, consumers didn't take kindly with the company popping off about a matter that was none of their business.

But despite the object lesson of Coke, some executives are just too woke to get the message. In an astonishing show of ignorance, 43 CEOs have decided to line up against local bills that protect girls sports and young kids from the transgender agenda. Companies like Airbnb, Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, Bayer, Ben & Jerry's, Capital One, Dell, Dow, Dropbox, Facebook, Gap, GoDaddy, Google, Hilton, H&M, IKEA, Levi Strauss, Marriott, Microsoft, Nike, Oracle, Patreon, PayPal, PepsiCo, Peloton, Pfizer, REI, T-Mobile, Twitter, Uber, Verizon, Wells Fargo, and Zillow have already signed onto the Human Rights Campaign statement on "Anti-LGBTQ Legislation," and a good number of them are threatening to respond if Texas leaders don't kill their bills to level the playing field for women's sports and put an age limit on transgender drugs and surgeries.

Calling the legislation "divisive," the brands say they're "concerned to see a resurgence of efforts to exclude transgender young from full participation in their communities" (which, of course, is not the point of either of these proposals). SB 29 would require public schools students to compete in sports based on their biological sex and SB 1646 would make it illegal to assist in the "administering or supplying" of dangerous cross-sex hormones or treatments.

Earlier in the month, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) was irate when many of these same companies tried to interfere in Texas's election reform debate, blasting businesses for infiltrating the state and then working to undermine what it stands for. "You've meddled in a lot of issues lately..." he said in a fiery 30-minute press conference. "Stay out of things you don't know anything about, and if you want to get involved, then you're taking that risk," he warned. Pointing out that corporations have moved to Texas for its low taxes and favorable economic climate, he said, "Don't, on one hand, say 'Thank you, Texas,' while, on the other hand, slap us in the face. We're not going to put up with it anymore."

Fortunately, Big Business's intimidation tactics don't seem to be having much effect. Ever since Georgia Governor Kemp stood his ground, more elected officials seem to be ignoring the garbage the other side throws its way. Just this past Friday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) joined the growing chorus of GOP leaders to sign a sports fairness bill into law. After the state House (74-19) and Senate (25-5) passed it virtually unopposed, Ivey made it clear that Alabama won't be threatened by outside activists like the NCAA and big-name corporations who want our daughters to compete against biological boys. "I want to thank Governor Ivey for her leadership," said the legislation's sponsor, state Rep. Scott Stadthagen (R), "and for protecting the rights of Alabama's female athletes. Standing up for what's right is not always easy, but it's always the right thing to do."

As for what everyday Americans can do, boycotts are just the beginning. On "Washington Watch" Friday, the Political Forum's Stephen Soukup explained how companies are being infiltrated and changed by political activists. "Anyone who holds a certain amount of stock for a period of time can file a resolution," he said. And if it's considered germane, then "everybody gets a chance to vote, and the management of the corporation gets a chance to say whether or not they're for or against this proposal." That's how leftists have gamed the system. They've bought shares of stock -- and it doesn't necessarily have to be a lot -- "simply for the purpose of affecting a corporation's behavior... over the long term."

Now, after years of quietly gaining a foothold in these big brands, they have enough leverage to change the way corporations behave. "And if they can't change the corporation's behavior, they can change the leaders or the directors." But the good news, Stephen insists, is that conservatives have just as much power as the other side -- if they use it. "And that's one of the things that people need to understand when these things get political, is that if you engage, you can push back. You could reverse engineer what the Left is doing." All it takes is highly motivated people who want to make a difference.