“And who is the master of foxhounds?
And who says the hunt has begun?
And who calls the tune in the courtroom?
And who beats the funeral drum?”– Roger Waters
Shortly after the death of Julius Caesar, the Romans experimented with a power structure they called the Triumvirate. It involved three equal leaders that shared power in a system of rudimentary checks and balances. As you might have imagined, it didn’t work for long. Our system of checks and balances have worked remarkably well in the United States, but they have certainly had their moments.
They never perfectly work together. That was never the point of the exercise. Usually two could gang up on one bad actor to make sure they never become too powerful. This notion is at play in the current Republican party. They have three factions that work together to help them win elections and maintain power. They couldn’t win with just one alone, but if you put them together it has been just enough to get by for the last forty or so years.
The oldest faction is the faction the party was built on. The Republican party has always been the party of big business. Leave it to that group to be the possible ultimate undoing of everything else. They always say that politics make strange bedfellows. It is bizarre to see racists, xenophobes, and homophobes get in bed with big business, and then saddle up to religious zealots in a kind of perverse love triangle. I shudder to say this now, but it looks like big business might become the voice of reason.
All of this stands in the backdrop of corporate America’s standoff with the Georgia GOP over their new voter suppression law. Some have dubbed the bill “Jim Crow 2.0.” Whether it is motivated purely by racism or if it is simply a sinister power grab that happens to disproportionately affect African Americans and people of color is open to debate. The impact cannot be debated. Fewer people will vote and that is exactly what the GOP wants.
We can marvel at the simplicity of it. We can marvel at the naked ambition and undemocratic principles of the notion. I choose to marvel at corporate America’s collective response. MLB has pulled it’s all-star game and MLB draft out of Georgia. The collective impact has been estimated at 100 million dollars of revenues for the city of Atlanta and the state. That kind of loss in revenue has its way of trickling down. Funny how this trickle down method could topple the Republican party as it stands.
See, Corporate America never does anything for anyone else if it doesn’t benefit themselves. MLB and those companies looked at the bottom line and discovered their customer base would be more upset if they just went along with it than if they embraced democracy and free and fair elections. NASCAR made a similar calculation when they came out in opposition to racism and in support of the aims of Black Lives Matter. The comments have been eerily similar from critics of both organizations.
Conservatives from the racism and religious wings have asserted that these companies will suffer at the box office if members of their wings boycott those companies. Businesses don’t stay in business long if they make short-term and rash decisions. Someone thought this through and someone figured out that they would come out ahead. They thought it through and determined that racism, xenophobia, and homophobia was bad for business. That might be the death knell of this entire unholy triumvirate.
Of course, this doesn’t stop the other wings from putting their foot in their mouth. Governor Greg Abbott (I’ll let you choose which wing he belongs to) not only refused to throw out the first pitch at the Rangers game. He also said that Texans didn’t want any part of hosting the all-star game. I’m sure Ray Davis and Bob Simpson were happy to hear that. The Astros aren’t likely to be in line to host the game, but the Rangers surely would have been. They just built a new stadium and MLB has a habit of rewarding cities that build new stadiums. Not all 100 million of that economic impact would have been theirs, but much of it would have been. Abbott’s big mouth just took money out of their pocket.
Nothing pisses off big business faster than stupid people that take money out of their pocket. Never in a million years would I have dreamt that it would be big business that would balk first, but it looks like that is about to happen. Big business is about to drag the Republican party kicking and screaming back into the 21st century and back into democracy. Of course, the racists and religious zealots are powerful and stubborn. Who knows where this finally ends up.
Abbott began his reign as governor as somewhat of a compromise candidate between all of the factions. He’d tip his cap to each as he walked the tightrope between all three. This is certainly true when you compare him with his lieutenant governor. You can’t walk that tightrope long. Eventually you have to choose either one or two sides to favor. Abbott has made his choice and it ultimately will be his undoing. The question comes whether that comes in 2022 or later.