One of the things I enjoy doing is looking for patterns that might indicate either stories that we are missing or shifts in the body politic. Here’s a series of events that I’m noticing lately:
1. As we’ve seen recently in Indiana, Georgia and now North Carolina, businesses are stepping up to fight back against so-called “religious liberty” laws passed by states that promote discrimination against LGBT Americans.
2. Over the last few years there has been a great exodus of businesses from participation in ALEC over that organization’s climate change denialism.
3. Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman report that corporations are growing nervous about participating in the Republican Convention – especially if Donald Trump is the nominee.
What we’re seeing is that corporate America is increasingly feeling the need to distance themselves from Republicans and much of their agenda. Certainly their interests are often pitted against the American public. But on an issue where they’ve often sided with conservatives, we just witnessed 51 New York millionaires ask Governor Cuomo to raise their taxes.
When President Obama initiated his “pen and phone” strategy, a big part of the effort was aimed at convincing the private sector to do what Congress refused to tackle: raise the minimum wage, embrace paid family leave, hire veterans, ban the box, implement policies that mitigate climate change, expand access to broad band, etc. The President’s recent trip to South by Southwest was a call for engagement of the tech industry in addressing challenges like improving access to voting and countering ISIS recruitment strategies online. Interestingly enough, he’s had more success with these efforts than he has with Republican legislators.
Certainly there are corporations that wield their power to stop progress. But not every corporation is as retrograde as Koch Industries.