Corporate Politics in Georgia

The GA GOP is butting heads with corporations over HB202

Some key corporations (Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines) in the the state are criticizing the state GOP and the GOP is pushing back. And the MLB is getting involved.

Via the AJC: What a Pepsi can says about the GOP’s rift with corporate Atlanta

Moments after gaveling the legislative session to an end early Thursday, House Speaker David Ralston stood before a bank of TV cameras and admitted something that many lifelong Georgians would never say publicly: He purposely cracked open a Pepsi.

That Pepsi can is fighting words given the centrality of Coca-Cola in Georgia. And Republicans are feeling the heat from Coke and Delta.

It started early Wednesday when Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian issued a scathing indictment of Georgia’s new elections law, a sweeping overhaul that includes new voting restrictions. Coca-Cola’s top boss followed up with a CNBC interview that also pronounced the law “unacceptable.”

“It is a step backwards,” said Coca-Cola chief executive James Quincey. “And it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia around broad access to voting.”

No doubt these corporations are feeling the heat of opposition to the new law and their prominent connection to the Peach State: Delta, Coke face boycott campaigns over new Georgia voting law (also via the AJC).

Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, two of Atlanta’s biggest brands, are facing consumer boycott threats after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed new voting restrictions into law last week.

Social media posts carrying the hashtags #BoycottDelta, #BoycottDeltaAirlines and #BoycottCocaCola proliferated on Twitter as critics of the Republican-backed legislation accused the two Atlanta-based companies of not having done enough to stop its passage.

Delta has been in fights with the state’s Republicans before, and now via Forbes: Georgia House Passes Bill Stripping Delta Of A Multimillion Tax Break After It Slammed The State’s New Voting Restrictions

Georgia Republicans voted to strip Delta Air Lines of a jet fuel tax break worth tens of millions of dollars Wednesday after the company u-turned to unequivocally condemn the state’s widely-criticized voting restrictions, joining a growing list of executives who have criticized the new restrictions amid a debate over boycotting Georgia’s biggest companies.

And Today from outside the state (via ESPN): MLB moving 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta over Georgia voting law

In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league is “finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.” A source told ESPN that the 2022 All-Star Game is still planned for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and that that site won’t be moved up to fill the void this summer.

“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” Manfred said in his statement. “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”

I don’t have any profound analysis here, save to note that it is heartening that several major corporations think that it is better for their bottom line to be seen as being pro-democracy. It is a bit disheartening, however, to have to rely on corporations on this topic.

FILED UNDER: Democracy, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Teve says:


    Corporations are no friends to America. They are nothing more than massive college campuses with shareholders. Conservatives and republicans should act accordingly.


    I genuinely do not see how a party can survive if it sets itself at war with every growing demographic, as well as every institution in culture creation and mainstream business.

    It’s just a counter-revolution of angry white evangelicals now.

  2. I thought Republicans supported letting private companies make their own decisions.

  3. JKB says:

    This has set Democrats Stacy Abrams, Warnock, and Ossoff on plea not to do this. The “misrepresentation” of the law are going to hit heavily Democratic districts with these actions by corporations in Atlanta. MLB will make people across the country look at what is actually in the law.

    These CEOs have been manipulated by fake news, and Jittery Joe Biden’s lies about laws changes. Perhaps they’ll be called to answer as people seek out the truth

  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    Right. The CEO’s of mega corporations are being misled by fake news, but you, singular genius that you are, smartest… well, third smartest person in your retirement trailer park, you see through it all, don’t you?

  5. dazedandconfused says:

    “Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
    To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
    Better to reign in Hell, then serve in State that doth re-elect me not!”

  6. @JKB: One can debate how restrictive the bill actually is, but there is no doubt that the basic thrust of the law is to make voting harder and especially for some constituencies (i.e., Black voters).

    I have written several posts about it, in fact.

    What is your defense of the bill?

  7. Teve says:

    Conservative Christians are always lovely people, as you can see from this anti-gay-marriage fellow’s kind response to me a month ago:


  8. EddieInCA says:

    Warner Bros, very quietly, just moved three productions, which were going to shoot in Atlanta, from Georgia to North Carolina and Louisiana. Two to Charlotte and one to New Orleans.

    So, Delta and Coca-Cola, for standing up for expanded voting rights, are… what? Socialists? Communists? Liberal? Woke? What? I don’t understand the equation which puts this as a net positive for the GOP.

  9. EddieInCA says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The most obvious and common “defense” of the bill takes one of these three forms:

    A. It’s not as bad as liberals are making it out to be.
    B. What’s the big deal? If you aren’t gonna cheat, you shouldn’t have an issue.
    C. This will help the 74 million Trump voters feel like they’re being heard.

    The irony is that this is only going to turbocharge the registration process, for both voting and getting IDs.

  10. Scott says:

    It’s not just the corporations making their protests known; it’s the employees pushing their corporate bosses. Companies are far more diverse now. I can totally see baseball player saying “why should I contribute to an economy the treats me this way?

  11. EddieInCA says:


    The moron hasn’t done even basic research, because taxes alone is a good reason to get married, even if you don’t have kids.

  12. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA: I’m gonna reply on the Open Thread so as not to clog up this one.

  13. Scott F. says:


    I’m reminded of NBA coach Doc Rivers talking about the BLM protests last summer: “ We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that were denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. All you do is keep hearing about fear. It’s amazing to me why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back. It’s really so sad.”

  14. Moosebreath says:


    “C. This will help the 74 million Trump voters feel like they’re being heard.”

    Of course, it’s a big F-U to 81 million voters. But in the minds of the bill’s supporters, they’re not Real Americans, of course.

  15. Scott F. says:

    I don’t have any profound analysis here, save to note that it is heartening that several major corporations think that it is better for their bottom line to be seen as being pro-democracy. It is a bit disheartening, however, to have to rely on corporations on this topic.

    As Scott notes, it’s really hard to attract the best employees being anti-democratic. And while neutrality is typically the play when a public facing corporation is trying to appeal to the greatest number of potentially customers, when they’re forced to choose sides, companies aren’t going to want to side with the minority.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    It’s good that these corporations are supporting voting rights, even if it is in response to threats of boycotts and employee revolt. But it would be dangerous to depend on them. I suspect they won’t be supportive of liberal policies when it comes to economics. Even though it would be in their long term interests to see Biden’s infrastructure proposal enacted.

  17. Kathy says:

    Nothing says respect for the First Amendment more than punishing a company for their CEO’s opinions.

  18. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA: The general theme of what the right wingers are saying today is “Stacey Abrams and the Radical Left are bullying Georgians into allowing voter fraud that benefits Democrats.”

  19. Kathy says:

    BTW, the Georgia flag is a knockoff of the Confederate Stars and Bars flag.

  20. Mimai says:

    @EddieInCA: I’m curious, and forgive me this ridiculous hypothetical, if location itself didn’t matter, what state has the best combo of incentives and social climate for filming?

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Even though Kathy beat me to the observation that the new low-hate Georgia State flag bears a breathtaking resemblance to the Stars and Bars flag, I’ma still note that “justice, wisdom, and moderation” seem in short supply in Georgia. [appropriate sound effect]

  22. @Kathy: ’tis true.

  23. EddieInCA says:


    Probably North Carolina right now, but their incentives are limited in overall scope.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: Impressive knowledge of U. S. history. Most native American Southerners wouldn’t recognize that as the Stars and Bars. They believe “Stars and Bars” means the crossed bar “Confederate flag” they love to display. If pressed they’d say the flag they revere was the battle flag of the “Confederate Army”, which it also was not. It’s really touching to see them display so much loyalty to a flag of the Confederate Navy, which is otherwise so little remembered.

  25. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: after the stars and bars was retired because it looked too close to the stars and stripes on the battlefield and caused confusion, the crossbar flag (with minor differences) was part of the second official flag of the confederacy and the third official flag.

  26. Kathy says:


    Actually, I came across it in alternate history fiction.

  27. Monala says:

    @EddieInCA: he’s also suggesting that people who become infertile at a young age due to disease or whatever can never get married.

  28. Davebo says:

    Remember the only reason Atlanta even has a baseball team is because in 1965 the city agreed to integrate seating at Fulton County Stadium as a condition for the Milwaukee Braves to move.

  29. SteveCanyon says:

    As the GOP well knows, the true “cancel culture” is canceling your vote!