Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sucks its thumb at considerable length on the topic of Georgia’s corporate landscape: business incentives, political fights. There’s lots of information, but the key message is found in the language I have underlined below:
Delta and Coca-Cola changed their tune [on the Georgia voting bill] nearly a week after the bill was signed, and after more than 70 top Black executives placed a full-page ad in The New York Times warning the new law was “undemocratic and un-American.”
The move infuriated Republican lawmakers who said they worked hand-in-hand with those companies as the elections law was being drafted.
“I don’t think you’ll hear anybody on our side say that we don’t greatly respect them and the role they play,” said Bert Brantley, Kemp’s deputy chief of staff for external affairs. “I do think there’s some frustration out there because the process worked as it has so many times before and then we were blindsided. You had CEOs or whoever just completely turn their backs on all that work that was done at the capitol after months of discussions.”
To Sum Up: The Times They are A-Changin’
Like a Newtonian moving object that just keeps on moving until someone stops it, the Government Relations operations at Delta and Coca-Cola were working hand in glove with the Republican politicians to depress the Black vote, rile up the rednecks, replace the Reverend Senator Warnock in 2022 with Ms. Kelly Moneybags, and keep taxes low. The same race-baiting game that the Richie Richs have been playing for four hundred years.
Then the CEOs woke up and smelled the coffee. There was a huge risk that their brands would turn toxic. That’s an especially big problem for Coke. Delta is selling an important service—one you may badly need and might not be able to get from anyone else. Coca-Cola is selling flavored fizzy water with aggressive advertising that makes you feel good about drinking the stuff.
Coca-Cola would dearly love to keep on selling flavored fizzy water to poor rednecks and to progressive young people. They would love not to have to choose between them.
But the CEO of Coca-Cola, who probably has about a hundred more IQ points than the governor of Georgia, realized he was forced to make a choice.
So he chose.