When corporations become political
Updated on April 7, 2021
Woke Capitalism Strikes Again in GeorgiaIf the problem of “woke capitalism” wasn’t apparent before, the battle over Georgia’s new election integrity law has drawn it out into the open.
The law, which adds voter ID requirements to absentee voting, extends some early voting, and places some restrictions on activist activities at polling places, has been billed by Democrats and President Joe Biden as Jim Crow 2.0.
Regardless of the merits of the law or the offensive absurdity of comparing it to the actual rampant voter suppression under Jim Crow, it’s clear that opposition to the law is coming almost entirely from the left.
1 Investor With 1 Share Can Call Out Corporate LeftismYou can’t just pick up the phone and take on one of the most powerful CEOs in the world. Or can you?
It could be that easy if you own just one share of stock in a publicly traded corporation. It’s a David-versus-Goliath strategy that conservatives don’t use enough to make a difference in the culture wars.
And with American companies now repudiating the principles and values that once made them great, we need all the help we can get right now.
I called into the Walt Disney Co.’s virtual shareholder meeting and caught CEO Bob Chapek off guard when I accused him of blacklisting anyone not adhering to Hollywood’s left-wing agenda.
Corporate ActivismFrom Seeking Alpha: Back in March, we reported on the Nasdaq's (NASDAQ:NDAQ) board diversity plan, which created tensions between those advocating for greater corporate diversity and those seeing it as an industry quota system. The same argument played out this week in other areas of Corporate America, which is increasingly becoming a dominant political force. Once upon a time, the business world sought to maximize profits of shareholders in the political sphere via lobbying or marketing efforts, but their newfound power is developing into a kind of governance system, while many investors are buying into the vision.
One doesn't have to look far to the permanent suspension of President Trump on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), whose stock is up 30% since the ban in January, as well as Parler's removal from the Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) app stores and web hosting by Amazon (AMZN). The corporate world has also brought in activists to their success, like Colin Kaepernick, who has been a prominent endorser for Nike (NYSE:NKE) - the stock of the sneaker giant is up 175% since the partnership first began in late 2018. Kaepernick has also gone on to work with global brands like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Beats by Dre, Medium, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), Audible and Ben & Jerry's (NYSE:UL).
Down to Georgia... The state made changes to its voting laws this week, including new ID requirements for absentee voters, shortened absentee voting, guaranteed (but limited) drop boxes, expanded early voting and bans on handouts for people waiting in line to vote. GOP lawmakers said the bill was necessary to restore election confidence, though Democrats feel the measure will restrict voting rights, and some have even called it "Jim Crow 2.0." Soon after the decision, the MLB announced it would no longer hold the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta, and other corporations were quick to jump on board. Dozens of executives have come out to blast the new law, including leaders at Apple, American Express (NYSE:AXP), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Delta (NYSE:DAL), Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
Thought bubble: While companies have long sought to influence policies that directly impact their business, recent trends suggest CEOs are now injecting themselves into political debates or activism that could indirectly affect their bottom line. In an age of cancel culture, and where ideas are carried on social media within minutes, they may have to, though others warn of potential risks and consequences of picking sides. On that note, JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon will release his annual shareholder letter today, which is expected to outline ideas for tax and social policies, a day after Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos came out in support of President Biden's corporate tax hike and infrastructure plan. (121 comments)