Republicans blame everyone but themselves for fallout over racist Georgia voting law


Georgia Republicans knew that businesses were concerned about the new election law before they passed it.

After Republican lawmakers in Georgia passed a racist voter suppression bill that Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law on March 25, leading to a backlash, criticism, and the loss of corporate business in the state, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are trying to shift responsibility for the fallout.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released an ad on Sunday in which it places the blame for Major League Baseball moving the 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia on Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

The ad, posted under the heading "Warnock’s All-Star Blunder With The MLB," features TV news clips about the potential loss of revenue to the state due to the MLB's decision, followed by video of CNN's Dana Bash asking Warnock, "Should boycotts be on the table?" Warnock responds, "I think we all have to use our voices." The same clip is repeated later in the ad, along with a title card reading, "Tell Senator Warnock you OPPOSE his Georgia Boycott."

Georgia Republicans knew that businesses were concerned about the new election law before they passed it.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce, which represents major businesses in the state, had issued a statement a week before Kemp signed the legislation  expressing "concern and opposition" to its provisions. Major companies like Coca-Cola and Home Depot said they agreed with the chamber's comments.

Warnock fought against the bill before it was passed and continues to speak out against it, urging Senate Democrats to pass H.R. 1, the "For the People Act," a government and elections reform bill passed in the House that would prohibit many of the voter suppression tactics GOP state lawmakers have either already passed or are pushing to implement across the country.

More and more companies have criticized GOP efforts nationwide to pass laws that make it more difficult to vote, citing lies about voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election as justification.

Businesses like Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola have released public statements calling the Georgia law "unacceptable" amid pressure, including the threat of boycotts, to use their influence to against it.

The MLB upped the ante when it announced on April 2 that it was moving the All-Star Game from the state. Actor Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua announced on Monday that they are moving production of their upcoming film "Emancipation" out of Georgia in reaction to the law as well.

But Republicans, rather than amend the law to be less restrictive and bring business back to the state, have instead dug in their heels and launched attacks against Warnock, corporations, and others.

Republicans in the Georgia House sought to retaliate against Delta by repealing a tax break the company receives.

Kemp criticized Delta and lied about the restrictive measures in the law at the same time, saying, "At no point did Delta share any opposition to expanding early voting, strengthening voter ID measures, increasing the use of secure drop boxes statewide, and making it easier for local election officials to administer elections — which is exactly what this bill does."

And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a proponent of corporate "free speech," warned companies they should "stay out of politics" when it came to expressing opposition to voter suppression laws.

Now the NRSC, whose purpose is to elect Republicans to the Senate, appears to be trying to use Warnock's opposition to the law to scapegoat him for the backlash to it and sink his reelection effort.

Warnock was elected by a slim margin in a 2021 special election runoff to serve out the remainder of former Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson's term. That term expires in 2022, and Warnock will be up for reelection a little more than a year after he was sworn in.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.