With much of corporate America vowing to withhold donations to Republican insurrectionists, party leaders have a choice to make. The Trump cult or the money? The money or the Trump cult?
One hoped that love of country and its democratic institutions would have been reason enough to strongly condemn fellow Republicans who tried to overturn the results of a legally certified election. Only a handful of Republicans rose to the occasion, with a few more signing on following the obscene Trump-fueled rampage on the Capitol.
Despite pleading with President Donald Trump to stop the riot, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy still would not lift a finger to defend the democracy. He joined the more than 120 lawmakers in refusing to count Electoral College votes.
Until ... until America's blue chip companies started announcing their intention to stop sending money to the Republican miscreants. That got McCarthy's attention.
McCarthy's position as party leader depends on his ability to dole money to Republican candidates. Less money, less power. Threatened, McCarthy tried to weasel out of his disgrace by letting it be known that he actually told Trump that "the election is over." What courage!
Over at the Senate, Rick Scott of Florida faces a cloudy future as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a fundraising enterprise. He also tried to stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory.
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, perhaps the ugliest face of Trumpian violence, now has a taste of what's in store. Kansas City-based Hallmark has made the extraordinary demand that Hawley return its employees' donations.
It's a poorly kept secret that Republicans are no longer the kings of fundraising. Democrats are. In the recent U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia, Democrat Raphael Warnock raised over $32 million more than the losing incumbent, Kelly Loeffler, even though she is a creature of Wall Street. Jon Ossoff beat Republican David Perdue in both votes and the money race, having raised almost $50 million more.
Corporate PAC donations have traditionally been a greater source of money for Republicans than Democrats, so the post-riot condemnations bode ill for the GOP. Many of the big companies now suspending contributions to the treasonous lawmakers had given more money to Republicans than Democrats in the 2020 election cycle. They include AT&T, Comcast, American Express, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mastercard and Dow Chemical.
The giant business lobby, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says some members of Congress have "forfeited" its support because of their anti-democracy actions. Meanwhile, the death of Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson leaves Republican fundraising still more endangered.
As for small donors, they raised a total of $368 million for Joe Biden and only $268 million for Trump. Interestingly, Biden also swamped Trump in big donations — $646 million versus Trump's $396 million.
Why? Republicans have turned away from sane governance, which is what business wants above all. Trump's response to the COVID crisis was an exercise in civic anarchy, and other Republican leaders joined him in playing to cheap seats. They could have done simple things, like urging Americans to wear masks rather than mocking those who did. They could have acknowledged there was a problem.
Sure, many moneyed interests wanted tax cuts, but chaos, dysfunction and unnecessarily drawn-out COVID-fueled recession canceled the benefits. And it needs noting that a lot of rich Americans do love their country.
It is a great relief to good Americans that corporate chieftains share their revulsion at the shocking climax of the Trump presidency. Best of all, they have the means to strike back at its enablers where it hurts. The insurrection is truly over.
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at [email protected] To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.