Political Animal had an interesting item a few days ago, pointing out that American businesses are increasingly uncomfortable with the supposedly “business-friendly” strategies being pursued by the GOP.
It isn’t just business’ pushback against retrograde anti-LGBT measures, either; recently, 51 New York millionaires asked Governor Cuomo to raise their taxes, and there has been a mass exodus of large corporations from ALEC–mainly as a response to that organization’s denial of the reality of climate change.
Most recently, several corporations have expressed concern about participation in this year’s GOP convention–at least, if Trump looks likely to be the nominee.
The discomfort of savvy businesses with the increasingly radical positions espoused by Republican officeholders has led President Obama to pursue an interesting strategy:
When President Obama initiated his “pen and phone” strategy, a big part of the effort was aimed at convincing the private sector to do what Congress refused to tackle: raise the minimum wage, embrace paid family leave, hire veterans, ban the box, implement policies that mitigate climate change, expand access to broad band, etc. The President’s recent trip to South by Southwest was a call for engagement of the tech industry in addressing challenges like improving access to voting and countering ISIS recruitment strategies online. Interestingly enough, he’s had more success with these efforts than he has with Republican legislators.
If these trends continue, we may finally be seeing what some in the punditry have long been predicting– collapse of the never-comfortable alliance between the pro-market, pro- business, “country club” Republicans who are generally fiscally conservative and socially moderate (or even socially liberal), and the Religious Right extremists who have come to account for so large a portion of the GOP base.
The 2016 election may be the last for the GOP in its current iteration. We can only hope that–once the smoke clears–America ends up with a responsible, adult center-right party that can engage productively with the Democrats’ center-left philosophy, and once again give conscientious citizens a thoughtful and meaningful policy debate.