Large U.S. corporations have rapidly begun distancing themselves from President Donald Trump and his Republican allies, and many of the corporations, such as Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola, Ford and Blue Cross Blue Shield, have suspended political donations after the assault on the Capitol last Wednesday by mobs of Trump-inspired supporters.
For now, the measures are related to affirming the rule of law and the results of the presidential election that will bring Democrat Joe Biden to the White House.
However, they also indicate that companies are becoming wary of lawmakers who endorsed Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, possibly depriving Republicans of public support for groups that until recently were the core of the Republican Party’s political brand. .
‘Spreading like a forest fire’
“This is spreading like wildfire,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at Yale University’s school of management who advises CEOs. “The US business community has interests entirely associated with the American public and not with Trump’s autocratic fanatic wing in the Republican Party.”
However, the donation “pause” announced by many companies, including Marriott, American Express, AT&T, JPMorgan Chase, Dow and others, is unlikely to seriously affect Republicans in Congress who voted to override Biden’s victory.
“They are symbolic commitments,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks the role of money in politics. “This is just one source of income and for some very limited, particularly in the Senate.”
Corporate-funded political action committees can only accept donations of up to $ 5,000 per candidate each year. In contests that sometimes cost public officials millions of dollars, such contributions are just a small fraction of the overall fundraising picture.
Washington riots halt profits and drive losses on Wall Street
The Democratic conquest of two seats in the Senate inspired optimism in investors leading the Stock Market to reach all-time highs. But the unrest in Washington slowed profit generation and led to losses in Wednesday’s session.
Until the elections of 2022
In many cases, companies only suspend donations for several months, leaving plenty of time to speed up collections before the 2022 election.
“They will hide until the new cycle hits,” said Erik Gordon, a professor of law and commerce at the University of Michigan. “They will return with their checkbooks and the politicians already preparing for the legislative races of 2022 are waiting at the back door.”
Even as Trump sold himself to voters as a billionaire guru with a Midas twist on the economy, many business leaders had already quietly turned away from a president who limited trade, inflamed racism, cut off immigration, and failed to stop the pandemic. of coronavirus.
The rejection accelerated after Wednesday’s events on Capitol Hill.
Rejection of politics
What surprises many observers is how quickly the companies reacted to suspend donations.
“He looks sincere from a lot of corporations,” said Craig Holman, a campaign finance expert for Public Citizen, a liberal consumer protection organization. “There was little public pressure for Marriott and others to announce that they would not be making any more campaign contributions. They did it on their own and wowed everyone in the campaign finance community. “
Some companies are trying to circumvent the policy entirely after the events of last week. Citigroup, for example, confirmed Sunday that it had suspended all its federal donations for the first three months of the year, including to Democratic lawmakers.
This did not sit well with Democrats, who complained that they were being penalized for violence that originated with Republicans and left five people dead.
“This is not the time to blame both parties,” New York Rep. Sean Maloney told MSNBC. “What the hell did the Democrats do this week but defend the Constitution and the rule of law?”