Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided on Monday that the best way to protest Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta over Georgia’s new voting law, was to pass on the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the Rangers’ home opener.
You’ll recall, MLB moved “The Midsummer Classic” out of Atlanta in protest of the state’s new law that restricts voting access. Given that Texas has its own highly-criticized voting proposals being pushed through the GOP-led legislature that would make it harder to vote, it shouldn’t be that surprising that Abbott would support Georgia’s new law.
But he’s also not being completely honest in his open letter.
Abbott’s actions have implications beyond simply performative politics.
He points out in his official letter that the state of Texas won’t seek to host a future All-Star Game or any other MLB event in the future. Considering an All-Star Game could generate as much as $100 million in revenue for the host city, Abbott taking this stand is tantamount to cutting one’s nose off to spite your face. But this is becoming SOP for the Republican Party. Forget about battles in the chamber over legislation. For the GOP, the only battles worth fighting have to do with the culture war.
No fight is too petty or silly for republicans these days. And if you need examples, just remember all the time those on the right have wasted arguing about Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss. You want petty? In Georgia, lawmakers want to give the boot to Coca-Cola, which is essentially the soft drink that built the state, because its CEO criticized the new voting law.
Predictably, former president Trump responded with one of his word-salad statements that was short on grammatical accuracy, long on aggrievement. He called for his supporters to boycott MLB, Coke, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS and Merck, all companies that have gone public against the voter-restriction legislative wave. You may as well add United Airlines to that list, after the airline issued this statement on twitter today declaring its position on voting.
GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is wading in, too. Instead of discussing why so many of his fellow Republicans around the country are working so hard to restrict voting access, the Kentucky legislator is issuing veiled threats against companies that dare to take a stand on a topic such as voter suppression.
The reality is, industries like MLB and companies like Coca-Cola, Delta, American Airlines and Dell are coming out against these voter-suppression legislative actions because it makes no business sense whatsoever not to. Heather Cox Richardson shared great insight about this in her “Letters from an American” newsletter:
According to Richardson, this is emblematic of a bigger problem facing our society. Namely, that the political party that increasingly represents the views of a dwindling segment of the U.S. population maintains an unnatural advantage of power in Washington. As an example, she points out how the American Rescue Plan was favored by 77% of Americans in one poll, yet not a single Republican voted for it. There is overwhelming support for shoring up America’s infrastructure, but Biden’s latest proposal seems like a non-starter for any bipartisan support in Congress.
The Republican Party responded to its 2020 election losses by moving to restrict voting and create more hurdles for people to take part in the electoral process. Instead of fighting legislative battles and seeking compromises in good faith, they seem to have decided to draw a partisan line in the sand and be the opposition party. It’s all about culture for the GOP now.
The cancel culture.