How quickly the Republicans, the traditional staunch enforcers of corporate interests in the political world, have turned to bite the hand that has fed them with copious political donations and lobbying financial windfalls.
Perhaps these GOP turncoats think that after delivering massive tax cuts to American corporations and the oligarchs who control them, these companies should meekly support whatever lines of political dogma that the party decides are in their best interest as they attempt to regain the power squandered and lost by Donald Trump.
With Republicans now more interested in leveraging culture wars to their electoral benefit than exercising any semblance of principled governance (or continuing to defend the companies that fund their party), it’s no surprise that GOP luminaries like seditious Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) are now turning on their corporate masters.
Senator Hawley took to the airwaves on Fox News last night to tell Tucker Carlson about new legislation that he is sponsoring to eliminate corporate control of politics, except — unlike progressive advocates who have been calling for years for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that granted corporations personhood and allowed them unlimited political donations — the Missouri senator is likely more concerned about the pernicious effect of companies publicly opposing the racist voter restriction laws that the GOP is pushing to enact wherever they control state governments in order to prevent any further erosion of their power than the inherent insanity of allowing oligarchs to dominate the political sphere through their showering of copious contributions.
Hawley’s proposed legislation focuses squarely on tech companies that now control the levers of political discourse through the ownership of the social media outlets where America increasingly gets its news and opinions and promises to break up Big Tech and allow “tough new penalties” on companies that have monopolistic power in their sectors.
As Hawley described his plan on Tucker Carlson Tonight:
“No corporation should be so big and so powerful that it can control the political process, that it can override the will of the voters. And that’s exactly what today’s mega-corporations who’ve gotten big and fat with the help of government, what they’re trying to do,” the Missouri senator began.
“So here’s what my plan would do. First of all, it would break up the big tech companies, make them spin-off their various parts. For instance, Amazon should not be able to have the dominant e-commerce platform and also control the cloud. It would break up the big corporations. No more mergers and acquisitions by the biggest companies in America, don’t allow the big banks to get any bigger. Tough new penalties for corporations that violate our trust laws and also a new ability for prosecutors to go after these trusts. And at the end of the day… a new focus for antitrust law, which is this — It ought to be about promoting competition. Freedom is protected when there’s competition, not when there’s monopoly.”
Lest you think that Senator Hawley has dropped acid and found some epiphany that somehow reversed the traditional GOP submission to their corporate masters, he gives away the real motivation behind his legislative push in the balance of his comments to Carlson.
“On the Republican side you’re really seeing eyes open to the power and danger of these monopolies,” Hawley claimed. “I think voters already know it. They’re living it. They’re being censored on social media. They’re living in fear that these banks are going to cancel them, that these big corporations are going to cancel them, and I think that elected officials, Republican elected officals are listening to voters, are openong their eyes, are realizing the dangers, and it’s time to do soemthing about it,” he concluded.
It’s difficult to take the stated motivations of the senator who voted against verifying the electoral college vote without the seriously large number of grains of salt that social media commentators provided.
— DAWG (@88SEATTLE61) April 13, 2021
"My free market!" Josh Hawley cried, as the American people chose not to support an insurrectionist
— Cory G (@cgordini) April 13, 2021
Hawley’s statement perfectly illustrates the contradictions within the GOP as the party is split between the traditional establishment Republicans aligned with big business and the Trump-inspired neo-populists who want to target white, blue-collar voters rather than the suburban country club and Wall Street types.
While many on the left may share Senator Hawley’s opinion that large corporations should be limited in their ability to set the political agenda through their control of the campaign finance process, it would be very unwise to count him among their allies in the fight to reform our nation’s political culture.
Republicans have proven again and again that they are no advocates of unfettered democracy through their passage of restrictive voting laws at the state level and persistent gerrymandering efforts.
No sudden reaction against the supposed cancel culture war being waged against right-wing outrages by “woke” corporations will change the basic playbook of the GOP, which is based on the retention of power rather than any real ideological transformation into anti-corporate warriors.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.