Although McConnell’s comments appeared most targeted at corporate response to Georgia’s new law regarding voting, he expanded his critique of business taking positions on political issues that differ from those of the GOP. “From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government,” he said in a statement on Monday.
By criticizing the business community in this way, McConnell, who is known for his keen strategic mind, revealed a fair bit about where the post-Trump Republican Party is heading. As the leader of his party in the Senate, McConnell has two key short-term political goals: winning back control of the Senate for the Republicans in 2022 and making sure that he remains the leader of his party’s Senate caucus. It is in this context that the positions he takes must be understood.
The decision to pursue this approach rather than, for example, publicly rallying big business around opposing corporate tax increases reveals a great deal about the post-Trump GOP. Primarily, it indicates that in the wake of a decisive defeat in the 2020 elections, the Republicans are building a political strategy based on three components: voter suppression, gerrymandering and the politics of White grievance.
This is the corner into which Trump has backed Republicans. Either they move back to their conventional pre-Trump style and see voter enthusiasm potentially wither or they embrace the resentment and sense of victimhood that defined Trumpism, fighting against powerful CEOs along the way. McConnell may think he is making the right strategic choice, but it is tough to see how this will work for the GOP in the long run.