Coke Gets a Kick in the Can from Consumers
Coke Gets a Kick in the Can from Consumers
April 7, 2021
A week into the fiasco over Georgia's election law, most Americans want to know: just who are these woke CEOs listening to? Not to their shareholders, who can't make a profit when their companies alienate half of the country. Not to lawyers or legislators, who could set them straight on what the policy actually does. And certainly not to U.S. consumers, who are sending a resounding message that they're done with businesses who can't check their radicalism at the door long enough to read a 98-page piece of legislation.
"It's insanity," Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) agreed on "Washington Watch." Like most people, he can't believe that Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta, and so many others would put the solvency of their companies on the line to make a political point that -- it turns out -- isn't even true! When even MSNBC is telling Joe Biden he "needs to keep it honest," the Democratic Party has reached a low even the liberal media can't believe. And yet the White House and its field marshals in Hollywood and Atlanta created such a ridiculous narrative about this law that people like Willie Geist are going on the most radical news outlet in the country and insisting it's impossible to "square the president's argument."
"[D]oesn't it seem that a lot of people jumped the gun?" Joe Scarborough asked in follow-up. They moved the MLB All-Star Game "before actually either reading the bill or understanding how the bill lined up with New Jersey laws, with New York laws, with laws all across the nation," he said. Then, astounding even more viewers, he took aim at the lynchpin of the Left's whole argument. "...When you line this bill up with what the laws were before the pandemic and what the laws are in states like New York, it is not Jim Crow 2.0."
And what's happened in the meantime? Countless shoppers are walking away from major U.S. brands because the Left's dishonesty "whipped up a controversy that left millions of people grossly misinformed, frightened voters, mired major corporations in high-stakes public relations frenzies, distracted the political discourse, and furthered the country's divisions," the Federalist's Emily Jashinsky argues. A new survey just released today found that three-quarters of Americans think corporations should stay out of politics. Another 64 percent of them said they'd be less likely to support those who don't. And this is a poll, incidentally, that talked to more Democrats (34 percent) than Republicans (31 percent)!
Americans of all stripes are fed up. Once they understand what the Georgia law really does, NRO's Alexandra Desanctis points out, "a majority -- again including a majority of Democrats and non-white Americans -- also supported the law's regulations as applied to ballot dropboxes. Almost 80 percent of those surveyed -- including a majority of Democrats and non-white Americans -- said they support the law's ID requirement for absentee voting." The same was true, she explains, about MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's unilateral decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta. "A slim majority said they supported MLB's decision to move the game at first, but after learning more about the specifics of Georgia's law, a majority said they were 'less supportive' of MLB's decision."
As for this loud minority deterring other states from following Georgia's lead -- well, the Left was wrong about that too. An astounding 361 election integrity bills have been introduced in 47 states across the nation this year -- and that includes a 43 percent increase since February. If Joe Biden and his party were hoping to scare off other states, they might want to try a different strategy.
"I lay the blame [for this uproar] clearly on these corporations who do not have a backbone. They don't have the guts to stand up and just accept the truth. They are so afraid of what this Left-wing mob could do to them that they're alienating their very own customers," Loudermilk fumed. When Major League Baseball pulled out of Georgia, who do you think they're going to hurt, he asked? "Well, they're not going to hurt the other big corporations based there. They're going to hurt the guy who sells hot dogs at the stadium. They're going to hurt the server at the restaurant who's not going to get this business."
A handful of days ago, he talked with some of those business owners who were trying to come back from the brink after the pandemic. "These are businesses that thrive on having these conventions and sporting events. They were all excited about the All-Star Game." They wondered if this was the one thing -- the catalyst -- that could bring their businesses back from poverty. "We met last week," Loudermilk remembered, "and they were concerned about Major League Baseball. But around the table, everyone said, 'You know, we don't [think] that baseball would go to that extreme, because none of this is true.' And here they go. They're going off the deep end. It's unbelievable."
And of course, these same corporations -- whether we're talking about Delta or others -- repeatedly come to these same state leaders looking for special subsidies or tax breaks. Major League Baseball has anti-trust immunity that they've enjoyed since 1922. They all look to government -- and specifically free-market Republicans -- to protect them but now bite the hand that feeds them.
"The last day of the legislative session was the day that Coca-Cola came out and made their announcement [against the election reforms]," Barry explained. "Obviously, the CEO never did read the bill. He just took Stacey Abrams and Nancy Pelosi and the extreme Left's talking points and came out with this asinine statement that had no truth to it whatsoever." And the irony, he says, is that when Delta publicly opposed it, the legislature was considering -- that day -- whether to renew the special tax breaks the airline gets for being based in Atlanta. "How brazen it was for the CEO [to do that], knowing that this [could] cost them millions and millions of dollars... They have totally lost all sense of morality to start with. And I think they've totally lost their minds as well."
Liberals may be brazen now, but Republicans from the Senate on down are sending a message that if corporations want to fuel the crazy policies of the Left, then they need to rely on someone else to protect them from the high taxes and regulations Democrats want to force on them. "You can't placate to the far-Left mob -- especially when they come out and they lie," Loudermilk shook his head, "and then expect us to... support you the way that we have in the past when you're just going to turn around and stab Americans -- not Republican politicians -- but stab Americans in the back."
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
Tucker Carlson Eviscerates Chemical Castration of Minors
April 7, 2021
Arkansas just did something historic: It's become the first state in the nation to enact the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act. This much-maligned bill does three things: It protects minors from puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or masculinization or feminization surgery (all of which have permanent, life-long effects) until they are adults and can make adult decisions. It prohibits taxpayer or insurance mandates to pay for such procedures on minors. And it provides legal remedies for people who, as minors, have been permanently disfigured and/or sterilized by these procedures.
On Monday, Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) followed in the footsteps of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) and vetoed this carefully-crafted bill to protect minors from the ravages of the gender identity revolution. In a rambling and logically disjointed statement, Hutchinson claimed that the SAFE Act would harm both Arkansas youth and Arkansas's public image. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson invited the governor onto his show last night to defend his veto. The result was a train wreck, in which Carlson adeptly cited the research to turn the governor's arguments on their head:
Far too often Republican politicians turn tail and run at the first sight of pushback, concerned with image and how they will be perceived by those who listen to the disinformation of the Left. Carlson demonstrated how to ignore the name-calling and argue from the data that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes. It's worth analyzing the arguments and presuppositions underlying the belief that little boys can become girls and little girls can become boys.
The governor claimed that limited government conservatives should not regulate medical decisions made by patients, parents, and doctors. This argument fails on two fronts:
- The state has a compelling interest to protect children from harm. As the bill sponsors pointed out, we do not allow children to drink, smoke, drive cars, or even come home as newborns from the hospital without a car seat. None of these are considered government overreach by the vast majority of conservatives. As Carlson asked, "Why are we preventing kids from drinking... or getting married, [or] having sex? They're not old enough to have sex, but they're old enough to be chemically castrated? How does that work exactly?"
- As Carlson also noted, gender transition procedures produce real harm: They are experimental, off-label, and do not appreciably decrease suicide rates among trans-identifying youth. One study of every person in Sweden who had completed gender transition surgery over the course of 30 years showed that their rate of completed suicides was 19 times higher than among the general population. Other studies show that when allowed to develop naturally, the vast majority of children who experience gender incongruence (the feeling of being born in the "wrong body") or gender dysphoria (discomfort with that feeling) -- up to 85 percent of girls and up to 97 percent of boys -- outgrow it by the time they become adults.
The governor also said he would have supported the bill if it was simply limited to banning castration. But as Carlson pointed out, "This is chemical castration... If you stop puberty and suppress the sex hormones, you're chemically castrating someone." And he wasn't wrong: Like many other "gender clinics" for children, the Arkansas Children's Hospital web site acknowledges on page 2 of this "FAQ for Youth" that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are "irreversible."
News reports have consistently stated that the SAFE Act denies transgender-identifying youth health care, and/or "erases" them. But as the name "Save Adolescents from Experimentation" indicates, the bill only prohibits experimenting on children. The bill sponsors said it best:
"Gender incongruity and gender dysphoria are real, and serious. Families and children deserve compassion and care. Part of providing compassion and care is making sure children don't harm themselves out of ignorance. The alternative is likely a future where thousands of adults look in the mirror and ask themselves what happened to all the adults."
Fortunately, Hutchinson's veto has a happy ending. Thanks to the hard work of bill author Representative Robin Lundstrum (R) and Senate sponsor Senator Alan Clark (R), who laid the groundwork in the weeks leading up to the public debate. And thanks to an all-out education effort by doctors, experts, and a very brave man who told the story of his experience transitioning from male to female for many years. And outreach from a range of national leaders (from Franklin Graham to the feminist Women's Liberation Front), the Arkansas General Assembly promptly and resoundingly rejected the governor's veto on Tuesday by a combined margin of 97-30.
These courageous legislators understood that by going first Arkansas would take some lumps, and they shouldered the responsibility admirably. Their courage has and should give heart to the 18 other states which have introduced legislation to address this issue. If you (or your family and friends) live in Arkansas, click here to send a quick word of thanks to your officials for overriding the governor's veto and protecting children.
The Leftist Meltdown over Popular Election Reforms
April 7, 2021
By FRC Action Director Matt Carpenter
Once Georgia joined Iowa in enacting new laws to protect the integrity of the ballot box, the Left has become increasingly unhinged. After enlisting Major League Baseball, Delta Airlines, and Coca-Cola to try to bring about economic hardship in the state, the Left is now realizing hurting minority communities -- and openly lying about what the Georgia election reform law does -- is not likely to win over Americans to their perspective. The Left and woke corporations may not care about the truth, but Americans who vote and buy things do. So, what does Georgia's new law actually mean?
Senate Bill 202 requires voters using mail-in ballots to include a personal identification number on their ballot. This could be a driver's license number, state-issued ID number, social security number, or even a utility bill with the voters name and address -- a much needed provision which will help the state avoid the signature-verification headaches from the previous election. Additionally, this new law will improve the accuracy of voter registration lists, prohibit third parties (such as outside groups funded by Silicon Valley billionaires) from funding election activities and officials, ensuring vote counting is not interrupted unnecessarily, grants the state legislature oversight on consent agreements and settlements proposed by the State Election Board or Secretary of State, and other provisions to enhance voter confidence.
The bill blends these provisions meant to enhance the integrity of the vote with increased access to early voting -- something the mainstream media, woke corporatists, and the Left will not tell you. Senate bill 202 expands in-person early voting dates and hours, allowing early voting on two additional Saturdays, and gives counties the option to include two additional Sunday early in-person voting days. Despite increasing the number of days available for early voting, the MLB opted to go ahead and move the MLB All-Star game to Denver, over the vastly more diverse Atlanta, to protest a bill they claim is racist -- despite the fact that Denver also requires voter ID and has less early voting days than SB 202 would provide! It appears they're more interested in virtue-signaling than in actual virtue.
Despite the meltdown on the Left, other states recognize the importance of addressing voters' concerns with the integrity of the ballot box after the calamity that ensued in the 2020 election. In fact, according to the left-wing Brennan Center, in 47 states there are a combined 361 bills designed to address election integrity issues. Some of the more prominent states among those 47 are Arizona, Florida, and Texas -- three states that either saw tremendous controversy around the 2020 election or are themselves prominent swing states, and thus have a real need to ensure their citizens can have confidence in the vote.
Some of the proposals being vetted in these states include prohibiting election officials from mailing unsolicited mail-in ballots and mail-in ballot applications to voters, prohibiting third-parties from funding election and election-related activities, updating signature-verification process, prohibiting no-excuse mail-in voting, protecting poll watchers from harassment and intimidation, enhancing chain of custody requirements for mail-in voting and electronic voting systems, prohibiting ballot harvesting/trafficking, improving accuracy of voter rolls, and even banning electronic voting machines from being connected to the internet. All these proposals are worthy of consideration.
To be sure, these legislators will need their constituents to stand up and speak out in favor of common-sense election integrity reforms -- or else the pressure from corporate media, fortune 500 companies, and the left will swamp future elections with the same issues Americans suffered in the 2020 election. We can be sure the Left will do all that they can to hurt efforts to improve election integrity, even using their smears to pressure the federal government to go ahead with a federal take-over of election law. The pressure on senators to destroy the filibuster will increase as the Left prepares to shove H.R. 1/S.R. 1, also known as the Corrupt Politicians Act, down the throats of Americans. This act is designed to usher in an era of one-party leftist dominance in American government, it amounts to a total power grab by the Democrat party to hurt free speech, restrict the state's abilities to enforce popular common-sense laws to protect the sanctity of the ballot box, and even allows politicians to use campaign funds for their personal expenses (like new swimming pools!).
This week on "Washington Watch," FRC's Ken Blackwell put it perfectly:
"...There's a dynamic tension between the organized power of the state and individual liberty. That is why the Left tries to destroy the family, which is the incubator of liberty, and they try to run God and faith out of the public square because what they want us to believe is that our human rights are grants from government -- not a gift from God. And look, what I know and what I'm hearing from people all across this country is that they're sick and tired of it, and they're not going to take it anymore. And people will realize what Thomas Paine said is true: that those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it. And we're ready to put it all on the line."
Here at FRC we believe the greater the government advances into our daily lives, into our God-given freedom, the more we need to speak up. Preserving the integrity of our elections is not some peripheral issue that conservatives and Christians can leave for corporate American, Silicon Valley billionaires, and the radical Left to sort out; indeed, preserving election integrity is inseparable from the work of advancing faith, family, and freedom. Honest elections do not always produce God-fearing politicians, but dishonest elections will always produce government-exalting politicians.
Ken Blackwell is right. Americans are tired of virtue-signaling corporations and being demonized by the Left. And the time to speak up is now, because if the states fail to secure the ballot box, if the Left succeeds in destroying the filibuster -- and with it free speech and fair elections -- we may find ourselves up against a radical Leftist one-party state that is intolerant of our faith and freedom in Christ.