Billionaires and executives of some of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations, like Amazon and Google, have signed on to a statement that opposes what they perceive as restrictive voting laws.
The letter appeared in today’s Washington Post and New York Times as a two-page ad.
The ad, headlined “We stand for democracy,” does not mention any legislation specifically, but comes on the heels of the recent Georgia law which critics have described as voting restrictions.
It reads, in part,
“A government of the people, by the people.
A beautifully American ideal, but a reality denied to many for much of this nation’s history…
For American democracy to work for any of us, we must ensure the right to vote for all of us.”
You can view the full ad in this tweet:
WE STAND FOR DEMOCRACY — 100s of companies and exec sign this letter opposing “any discriminatory legislation.” Ad appeared in the NYT and @washingtonpost today. w / @andrewrsorkin https://t.co/TSPtxjkWhR pic.twitter.com/bAtS8SyseB
— David Gelles (@dgelles) April 14, 2021
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This is the latest statement issued by several corporations over the past few weeks regarding voting rights, and opposition to what is being portrayed as suppressing the voting rights of minorities.
A few weeks ago, Target, Snapchat, and Uber issued a statement opposing any legislation that would “deny eligible voters the right to cast ballots.”
Who Is Behind The Ad?
According to Axios, the latest statement was organized by former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier.
The two had previously organized black corporate executives to demand that businesses speak out against Georgia’s new voting laws.
In a statement to the New York Times, Chenault stated, “Throughout our history, corporations have spoken up on different issues. It’s absolutely the responsibility of companies to speak up, particularly on something as fundamental as the right to vote.” Frazier added, “These are not political issues. These are the issues that we were taught in civics.”
There are over 100 signatories, including major corporate law firms, the CEOs of Target, AMC, Conde Nast, Discovery, and Uber, celebrities like David Geffen, Larry David, and Queen Latifah, billionaire’s like Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg, and corporations like Facebook, Bank of America, American Airlines, Apple, Dell, Estee Lauder, Ford, General Motors, MasterCard, Netflix, Twitter, and more.
Top business leaders met this weekend to map out their response to new voting restrictions.
CEOs were asked to sign a statement opposing restrictive voting legislation.
— Patricia Strong (@Patrykia) April 12, 2021
Executives And Their Companies Get Pushback
It may not be smooth woke sailing for major corporations, however.
In the wake of Major League Baseball moving the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Boulder, Colorado, former President Donald Trump was quick to call for a boycott by conservatives of MLB.
Trump also stated, “I would say boycott baseball, why not. Woke is not good for our country.”
Other lawmakers who have called for targeting corporations who cave to what is being called “woke capitalism” include Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who issued a statement that read in part, “Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy.”
On Tuesday, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) outlined legislation that would strip Major League Baseball’s anti-trust exemption.
Sen. Marco Rubio called executives “woke corporate hypocrites,” and in a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, asked, “Will Major League Baseball now end its engagement with nations that do not hold elections at all like China and Cuba?”
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich perhaps stated what many others think as well.
“After two decades of the left being on offense, normal people are starting to fight back and say if these are the rules of the game, we are going to play, too. I think that’s [Republicans] saying, ‘Oh, you want to pick a fight with me? This is what a fight is going to be like.’”
American Conservative Union takes aim at ‘woke’ corporations with new pressure campaignhttps://t.co/7rUFK8TDLB
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) April 14, 2021
Axios also reports that a leading conservative group has purchased a seven figure ad buy on CNBC and local TV defending the new voting law in Georgia from its corporate critics. The ads are aimed at the business community.
Any counter-efforts by the right, if there are any, won’t be known for some time.
But the woke executives and their woke corporations may find out too late, that while they weren’t paying attention, conservatives learned how to play the game.
Attention Woke Corporations: There are 75 million Trump supporters. We have money.
— Steve Ferguson (@lsferguson) April 13, 2021
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