End Woke Corporate Extortion

In the maelstrom spurred by lies about Georgia’s voting law, woke corporations again endeavored zealously to virtue signal for the Left. Echoing and acting upon the Left’s deliberate disinformation campaign—including, notably, President Biden’s infamous “Jim Crow on steroids” doggerel—Coke, Delta, Major League Baseball, and sundry others excoriated the Peach State’s new statutory liberalization of voting procedures. In an interesting twist, these “free-market” entities, which are often threatened with boycotts from the Left, demanded the cancellation of an entire state

Ostensibly, this spasm of woke corporate extortion was largely wrought by the requirement for voter ID. Curiously, this is a policy prescription supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans, including people of color. On its face, this woke tirade makes no economic sense. So why do corporations feel empowered to denounce, extort, and defy duly elected legislatures and the sovereign citizens who elected them—especially since they fully realize they are alienating half the country (i.e., potential and current customers) by allying themselves with the Left to bully state legislatures?   

The answer resides in the financial equation undergirding woke corporate extortion.

Of course, corporations using their leverage is not a new tactic, as these statutory Frankenstein monsters have always coveted tax breaks, subsidies, and legislative favors from every governmental level. Yet the current “woke” corporate extortion constitutes a disturbing departure from past practices. 

Historically, the reason for corporate pressure tactics has been the economic benefit of the organization; and, the corporatists would argue, for the economic benefit of their community. When wading into political waters, corporations were always careful to find the least offensive causes in which to participate, such as supporting school literacy or our troops. In instances where the corporations have specific policy causes with less than overwhelming public support, such as school choice, the corporations do not threaten to boycott a state if its legislature doesn’t submit to their demands. 

Now, however, there is no longer a direct financial benefit spurring the corporation’s actions; and, indeed, there is a clear, if hypothetical, increase in the risk of financial detriment to the corporation, due to half the country potentially deciding to cease patronizing them. Yet, the woke corporate extortionists expressly target for punishment a state’s residents and legislature until its political—not business—demands are met. 

The logic behind this shift is that woke corporations believe virtue signaling and canceling states makes “business sense”—i.e., makes more money than it loses. In no small part, this mindset is spurred by the “woke” Millennials inhabiting the human resources and governmental affairs departments and their advertising firms. Along with their fellow elitists’ peer pressure, these callow commissars help convince the older corporate governors that it is more efficacious, if not righteous, to submit to the demands of the woke cult, both for the short-term avoidance of pain and for the (alleged) long-term capture of a market share of Millennials and Gen Z. And such soft power approaches are increasingly matched with more bare-knuckled, coercive approaches: the Left’s use of both boycotts and proxy voting to ensure woke corporations’ compliance with their demands.   

What such performative woke corporate extortion also accomplishes is the veiling of their questionable domestic and international practices—all of which, ironically, would offend the very sensibilities of the Millennials and Gen Z consumers they heed and court.

The economic pillar undergirding woke corporate extortion is international profits, both actual and prospective, especially from genocidal Communist China. International profits are the financial reason woke corporations can slander and cancel half of America. The “international community” (i.e., “globalists”) will either applaud or ignore woke corporations for their support of leftist crusades.

And some international actors, namely our nation’s enemies, will cite these woke corporations’ rhetoric and extortions in their propaganda campaigns. As this has yet to negatively impact their profits, this doesn’t concern the woke corporate extortionists.

But it should concern every American; consequently, the question arises: what must be done to end woke corporate extortion?

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

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