Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defended Georgia’s controversial new voting law on Monday, pushing back on President Biden’s characterization of the legislation as modern-day Jim Crow, and warning corporations against feeding into an “Outrage-Industrial Complex.”
McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke out in a blistering new statement released as a bitter partisan debate over the facts of the new law — and pushes for others like it — continued to rage.
“We are witnessing a coordinated campaign by powerful and wealthy people to mislead and bully the American people,” wrote McConnell, pinning the blame on Biden as commander-in-chief. “The President has claimed repeatedly that state-level debates over voting procedures are worse than Jim Crow or ‘Jim Crow on steroids.’ Nobody actually believes this.”
Biden has run afoul of fact-checkers for repeatedly misdescribing details of the law, including recently saying “it’s sick” that the law will “end voting at 5 o’clock when working people are just getting off work.”
In fact, the bill does not shorten voting hours on Election Day, but allows counties to expand them later than an existing 5 p.m. cutoff on early voting days. It also adds a mandatory new early-voting day — a second Saturday before an election — and allows counties the option of opening for voting on the two Sundays preceding an election.
The Peach State law requires identification for absentee voting and forbids people from giving would-be voters food and beverages as they wait to cast their ballots, among other measures that critics characterize as restrictive to democracy.
McConnell voiced doubt, however, that anyone sincerely believes that the law is tantamount to Jim Crow.
“Nobody really thinks this current dispute comes anywhere near the horrific racist brutality of segregation,” he wrote. “But there’s an old cynical saying that ‘history is just the set of lies agreed upon.’ And a host of powerful people and institutions apparently think they stand to benefit from parroting this big lie.”
Among those entities, McConnell said, are major corporations seeking to score points with left-leaning activists.
“It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves,” he wrote. “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.”
Georgia-based companies like Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola have spoken out against the law, while Major League Baseball has announced that it would pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta.
McConnell wrote that corporations wading into politics should expect to face repercussions.
“Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex. Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling,” he wrote.
“Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order,” continued McConnell, not specifying the nature of those consequences. “Businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.”
McConnell noted that a majority of Americans — including many Democrats — want tighter voter ID laws, and noted that large corporations aren’t applying similar pressure on Democrat-led states that have more restrictive voting laws than Georgia.
“Wealthy corporations have no problem operating in New York, for example, which has fewer days of early voting than Georgia, requires excuses for absentee ballots, and restricts electioneering via refreshments,” he said, echoing a point made last week by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “There is no consistent or factual standard being applied here. It’s just a fake narrative gaining speed by its own momentum.”
Repeating another argument made by Kemp, McConnell wrote that the outrage over Georgia’s voting law is designed to provide cover for congressional Democrats’ attempt to pass their own elections reform package at the national level.
“This disinformation has a purpose,” he wrote. “Washington Democrats want to pass a sweeping bill that would let them rewrite all 50 states’ election laws and turn the Federal Election Commission into a Democrat-run partisan body.
“This power grab is impossible to defend, so the left wants to deflect,” he continued. “Instead of winning the debate, they want to silence debate by bullying citizens and entire states into submission.”