What’s left after the GOP cancels itself? You could get whiplash trying to track conservatives’ hypocritical mental gymnastics, but there is a common theme: Conservatives believe in a one-way relationship with America where their terms reign supreme. Our role is to submit or face cancellation.
Incredibly, the party that continually whines about “cancel culture” while at the same time practicing it is now on the verge of self-cancellation after turning on the big business allies it’s historically united with to push tax breaks, de-regulation, and the “creative” destruction of the unchecked “free market.”
What caused the split was the GOP’s latest voter suppression efforts in Georgia, which were so odious that they have done the unthinkable, forcing corporations like Coca-Cola, Delta, and United to publicly condemn them. Even Major League Baseball decided to relocate the All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado. But the big businesses responding to their presumed interests and customers’ desires are being condemned by Republicans as supposed agents of a “woke cancel culture,” a made-up supervillain used to scare the conservative base. The Republican Party is even suggesting that the American pastime is, actually, part of a communist plot. If baseball and Coke are out, what’s next? Apple pie? (Thankfully, we still have freedom fries.)
Naturally, the Georgia House responded by threatening to “cancel” tax breaks for Delta, the state’s largest employer. “You don’t feed a dog that bites your hand,” said Republican House Speaker David Ralston, rationalizing the retaliation.
“My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is stay out of politics,” warned Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics,” McConnell said with selective memory, conveniently forgetting conservatives like him helped corporations become people with a First Amendment right to free speech. That was the result of the controversial 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in the historic Citizens United v. Federal Election case that allowed corporations to give unlimited funds to help influence elections. Conservatives like McConnell have no problem with corporations being in the “middle of politics” when it suits him. He took $4.3 million from corporations over the last 5 years to fund his campaigns. Companies have donated at least $50 million since 2015 to lawmakers who have supported voter suppression bills.
In fact, conservatives have long championed the First Amendment and used “free speech” to rally their base and promote their counter-majoritarian agenda. This includes supporting dark money in politics, insisting on the right to spew racism and hate without consequence, and promoting the religious freedoms of white Christians, especially bakers, to discriminate against women and LGBTQ communities. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissent this week in which he wanted to regulate Big Tech companies like common carriers. What happened to the “free market?” It seems conservatives don’t like Twitter, a private company, deplatforming then-President Trump and his allies for inciting hate. However, like Justice Thomas’s wife, they’re more than fine supporting a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol which left five people dead and sought to cancel a free and fair election.
As I’ve written before, cancel culture is the latest manufactured grievance by the right-wing ecosystem to weaponize fake victimhood so they can be cruel without accountability. While the Biden administration was trying to vaccinate Americans and give us a relief package, Republicans were complaining about Dr. Seuss. “Cancel culture” is the “number one issue” and “most dangerous thing” happening today, according to Rep. Jim Jordan. He said this during a devastating pandemic that has killed over half a million people and triggered a crippling recession. I agree with him when it comes to the fragile state of U.S. democracy.
The GOP efforts in Georgia to “cancel” voting rights, mostly of Black voters, is indeed a “most dangerous thing” that is being replicated by conservatives across America to ensure minority rule. Thankfully, the naked discriminatory intent and vulgarity of these measures has inspired national outrage and coordinated, strategic pushback by the majority. This includes putting pressure on corporations, such as Georgia-based Coca-Cola and Delta, to make a bold choice: stand for democracy and the people or continue your lucrative and incestuous partnership with the GOP and be boycotted. Corporations, like people, often follow the money.
Meanwhile, the GOP, which is now an extremist counter-majoritarian and counter-factual force posing as a political party, has given up on corporate money in the course of becoming aggressively stupid and investing everything in “cancel culture” as their absolutist sword to attack Democrats, liberals, and anyone who annoys their cult leader.
In addition to trying to cancel corporations, national sports, voting rights, and the 2020 election, they are also canceling fellow Republicans. This includes the six Republican senators and House Republicans, such as Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection. They’ve decided to cancel their conservative intellectuals, such as George Will and Bill Kristol, as RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) for criticizing Trump. They’ve decided to cancel “family values” with their hypocritical defense and support of Trump’s sexual indiscretions, and are now trying to say as little as possible about those of Trump minion Matt Gaetz.
The party of “law enforcement” now cancels intelligence agencies and throws them under the bus as members of the “deep state”. The party of “national security” is perfectly fine with violent insurrections, white supremacist terror, and vigilantes killing unarmed people at protests.
And now, the party of “the free market” is open to canceling the corporations who give them massive campaign contributions and provide jobs to their voters in Republican majority states. Christians like Jenna Ellis, who fights windmills on Twitter and complains about America cancelling Christianity, are even fine cancelling a literal reverend.
When and where will it end?
As the GOP becomes more extreme and radical, which it will, the absolutist sword of “cancel culture” will inevitably lead to its own cannibalization. For the rest of us, we can only hope it leads to their irrelevance. The terrifying alternative means they will have succeeded in cancelling democracy.