Social Psychology

How Big Business Got Woke and Dumped Trump — But Maybe It’s Not True Anymore?


Things seem particularly bad right now. It feels like democracy is the last turd still circling the toilet bowl waiting to be carried into the sewer of history. I can’t shake this feeling that after the Virginia election in which BOTH candidates received more votes than any other in their parties’ history that our democracy is already dead. We’re just a stumbling zombie of a nation not realizing that we’re not human any longer.

This article from Time chronicles exactly why and how our democracy has died… the writer just doesn’t know it. So, read the article and consider these points.

United We Stand; Divided We Fall

My basic thesis is that for human beings to survive and thrive, we must work together as a group. When a group of any size loses its cohesiveness, it will cease to function well, the group members will suffer, and the group will eventually cease to exist. It will disband, members will die, drift away, whatever. The group will end.

That is what evolutionary psychology teaches us. There is no escaping the imperative of working together as a group when you’re a human being, which last I checked, all the people living and voting in the US were human beings.

A corollary to the thesis is that for a democracy to work, all political parties must cooperate for the government to operate successfully. They must abide by the rules, laws, norms, and traditions of democracy. They must accept the loss of elections and the peaceful transfer of power. They must compromise to pass legislation. They must offer coherent policies and laws that address the problems that the country is experiencing. They must work to protect the country from harm.

Clearly the Republican Party has abandoned this principle. It is no longer following the rules, laws, norms, and traditions of democracy. By refusing to cooperate as the minority party in the federal government, they have caused the government to cease in its ability to govern. By abandoning its duties to protect the populace in the states and promote laws and policies that address the problems the states are facing, they have caused state governments to cease to function. Now, they are moving on to local government. They don’t even want school boards to function.

The Republican Party has even affected the federal court. We’ve seen SCOTUS abandon the basic principles of judiciary practice when they refused to stay the Texas abortion ban, for example.

The Republican Party has caused government at all levels in all branches to cease functioning. We no longer govern ourselves. The bureaucracy marches on doing what it always does, but the government no longer is giving adequate direction.

There is clear evidence that the Republicans are dismantling the infrastructure of democracy: They continue call for and instigate Republican initiated, controlled, and directed audits of state elections. They pass state laws that will suppress voting rights and nullify the outcomes of elections. If anyone thinks that the Georgia state legislature is going to certify a Raphael Warnock win in their senate race, for example, then you haven’t been paying attention. They aren’t going to do it.

Our government is paralyzed. Our populace divided. We are no longer a functional society. We are existing on momentum alone at this point.

Step-by-Step We Abandon The Fight

The Time article chronicles the response of CEOs to Trump’s attempt to steal the 2020 election, and it mirrors the reaction of most Americans. I’ll use select quotes to illustrate the points I wish to make.

[T]heir [Corporate CEOs] normal political goals—lower taxes, less regulation—weren’t worth much without a stable democracy underpinning them. 

“The market economy works because of the bedrock foundation of the rule of law, the peaceful succession of power and the reserve currency of the U.S. dollar, and all of these things were potentially at risk,” former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer

First, that’s my thesis right there. Corporations need a stable government in order to function well. To a degree, they prefer a democracy, but only to a degree. They’ll take any stable government authoritarian or otherwise as long as it is stable. The transition from democracy to authoritarian is by necessity unstable, so the CEOs oppose it. Once the transition moves far enough along where stability is being reimposed, then, the CEO class is all, Meh, whatchya gonna do, knowwhatimean?

“They chose in that moment to see themselves as part of civil society, acting in the defense of democracy for its own sake.”

Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny and authoritarian scholar

Smart CEOs realize that their business cannot function in societies that don’t function,” Polman tells TIME. “We have to be responsible and speak up, not just lobby in our own self-interest.”

Paul Polman, Unilever CEO

Snyder is talking about the actions that the top corporations of the country took after being organized by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the well-known Yale School of Management professor and author. They publicly distanced themselves from Trump and the Republican Party after the election and increased that distance after the 6 January Insurrection. They went on to take very public stances against the Georgia and Texas state voter suppression and nullification laws. There has been notable and obvious back sliding on the part of the CEOs. More on that in a moment.

Nearly a year later, 78% of the companies that pledged to withhold donations [to supporters of the coup and 1 January Insurrection] have kept true to their word, according to Sonnenfeld’s analysis of the latest campaign-finance data. One D.C.-based fundraiser for Republican candidates tells TIME she has virtually given up seeking money from corporate PACs as a result.

Interestingly, though, many of the corporations have continued boycott the Republican Party, their candidates, and their PACs, at least according to Sonnenfeld.

“Trump’s whole modus operandi, his one trick his whole life, is to break collective action,” Sonnenfeld says. “The whole NAFTA battle was pitting Canada against Mexico. He constantly tried to divide France and Germany, the U.K. vs. the E.U., Russia vs. China. He tried to build up Bernie vs. Hillary, just like he did with the Republican primary candidates. As pathetically puerile a device as it is, with the GOP it worked magnificently well.”

Again, this is my thesis. Trump seeks to divide because as Jebus and Lincoln said, “a house divided cannot stand against itself, that house cannot stand.” Trump doesn’t care if the country is destroyed and left a smoking hole in the ground as long as the gaping narcissistic wound of having lost an election is salved. The Republicans are using Trump as the wrecking ball to destroy our democracy and house their single-party pseudo-democratic minority-rule autocracy in its hollowed out shell.

The coalition that rallied with such alacrity to defend American democracy now appears splintered, unsure of the extent of the continuing threat or how to confront it.

And, now we see how Glenn Youngkin won election in Virginia. The opposition is splintering and confused. Not only the CEOs, but the entirety of the American electorate. Where once we stood united in opposition to a clear attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power in our democracy, now we’re wondering which is better to have a school system that is free of CRT and vaccine and mask mandates or a functional government? Hmmm… these choices are just so tough to make, aren’t they?

On the one hand we can mitigate the erosion to our democracy, climate change, #COVID19, poverty, and our crumbling infrastructure, on the other CRT. You can see why the CEOs and the American independent voter are confused, right?


How Big Business Got Woke and Dumped Trump

BY MOLLY BALL NOVEMBER 1, 2021

The CEOs started calling before President Trump had even finished speaking. What America’s titans of industry were hearing from the Commander in Chief was sending them into a panic.

It was Nov. 5, 2020, two days after the election, and things weren’t looking good for the incumbent as states continued to count ballots. Trump was eager to seed a different narrative, one with no grounding in reality: “If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” he said from the lectern of the White House Briefing Room. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”

The speech was so dangerously dishonest that within a few minutes, all three broadcast television networks spontaneously stopped airing it. And at his home in Branford, Conn., the iPhone belonging to the Yale School of Management professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld began to buzz with calls and texts from some of the nation’s most powerful tycoons.


Continue reading at Time: How Big Business Got Woke and Dumped Trump


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27 replies »

  1. “Do you know what happens with people who cannot govern themselves? That’s right. Others come in to govern for them.”
    Cormac McCarthy

    So, here’s a question: Can a political party that has successfully used division, even fragmentation, of the polus to achieve a single party pseudo democracy, or outright dictatorship, then govern effectively and successfully? I’ll suggest that the answer is that it cannot, at least not soon. Building a new set of norms, and a (even corrupt) rule of law from ones once shattered and de-legitimized takes a long time. There is also the tendency of actors long practiced in simple attacks on their enemies to find new enemies within their own ranks when old ones have been defeated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      I know that there are political scientists out there who have studied these things and I would love to be able to read their work on it. I just don’t have the time to find their work much less actually read it closely enough to really make use of it.

      One of the issues that it seems the party will face is who will be the top guy in the party. Hungary has Orban, Poland, Morawiecki, the Philippines, Duterte. Who do the Republicans have? Trump? That’s going to be their big fight and possible undoing. Once they’ve cleared any democratic trip-wire from impeding their rule, someone has to assume the mantle of leadership. Lots of them think that it should be them, but the in-fighting will be righteous and deadly, quite possibly literally.

      Once there, the ruler has to contend with rivals trying to unseat them which usually leads to lots of sycophants, losing touch with reality, and paranoia. I don’t know how this plays out, but none of it will go well or easily.

      Quite frankly, I’m quietly wondering why we haven’t had a political assassination or attempt yet and when we will have one. I’m surprised no one took a more obvious shot at Obama and that he survived at all. He and Michelle must have realized there was a very good chance of his presidency ending with his death. I’m surprised no one took a shot at Trump. I’m surprised that no one has taken a shot at a senator from a state with a governor of the opposite party or a judge. It seems to me that we aren’t too far removed from such things actually happening, though.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • That question about assassinations is interesting. Unless the FBI and Secret Service actually detected and stopped plots we have not been told about, the fact that nobody seriously tried is surprising. There has been no lack of talk that somebody ought to do it, and threats against politicians and public officials at all levels, and trolls piling on. I suspect that the 1/6 attack probably was intended as the signal by some. Still, at the individual level, it is a long step from “somebody ought to” to “I’m gonna do it.” Those people seem to target softer places like schools, supermarkets, and such. Perhaps it is the failure of the OK City bombing to ignite the revolution or race war, dramatic as it was, that showed how high the bar is for large numbers to actually start shooting. Hmmm – there’s that problem of calculations of risk versus reward. I also wonder in what direction veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan might counsel in groups like the Oath Keepers, having seen what multi-sided civil way really means.

        One thing about Trump as a leader of such a thing is what he showed on 1/6. He did not lead the march. He preferred to watch it on TV. If the gambit had succeeded, he would happily have claimed credit, but he would take no definitive action either way so long as the outcome was in doubt. That is not how a successful leader of a revolution works. People want a leader who marches in front. Some now know Donald is not that kind when the chips are down.

        Liked by 1 person

        • There have been Trump followers who have had serious plans though. There was the fellow sending explosives to his perception of Trump’s enemies. There was anthrax or a white powder sent to Trump and others in the administration. I think it is only a matter of time before someone on one side or the other takes a shot at a politician or judge.

          I also can’t help but think that there are people in the GQP who WANT someone from MAGA Nation to take the shot. I’m only mildly surprised that MTG didn’t shoot Pelosi herself on the House floor during the 6 January Insurrection. Had any of the insurrectionists started shooting, she probably would’ve been shooting the secret service and Capitol police in the back.

          I know that many of the insurrectionists are mad at Trump because they perceive him as having let them down. It didn’t seem to dampen any enthusiasm in Virginia, though.

          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • And don’t forget that Cawthorn said he was armed on the House floor that day, ready. One must wonder whether Trump would be more valuable to the GOP as a dead martyr than as an actual candidate or President. They have gotten a hell of a lot of mileage out of the edited and mythologized memory of Saint Ronald.

            Since we were talking about identities, MAGA is one, and one worth dying of COVID for.

            Liked by 1 person

            • That’s the power of identity and other imagined and symbolic constructs as rewards and possessions. I still go back to the Medieval Witch Craze that took two hundred years to run its course and in some villages killing 80% of the women who must’ve been the mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and wives of those doing the murdering. I go back to the Civil War where the ancestors of these same people fought and died for it. Now, we have parents sending their kids to school unmasked and unvaccinated willing to gamble their lives.

              The power of identity and cognitive dissonance is as awe inspiring as any god could ever have been in the history of humankind. In fact, it probably is god.

              You have to wonder if the plan was for the armed members of the Sedition Caucus to join the Insurrectionists once they reached the members and let the bloodbath begin. There was more afoot that day than anyone has let on to date. The Dems don’t seem to have near enough will to tackle it.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

              • The batch of subpoenas the select committee issued today (which will, of course, be contested) does move closer to the center of the plot and those who were in the War Room.

                I’m sure that if the bloodbath had begun, any Republican legislator who did not join in would have been under suspicion.

                Liked by 1 person

                  • The Trump legal team is going to push the question of executive privilege all the way to SCOTUS. But, the best grounds for having standing to challenge the subpoenas is to have been arrested for defying them. So far, only Bannon has been referred to DOJ for enforcement. Something is happening there, probably lawyers talking to lawyers. So far, Trump’s claims of EP are not being kindly received by the courts.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • It’ll be interesting to see what happens when it reaches SCOTUS. The first year of the Trump Court, they didn’t play ball with him. Now that they’ve got a little more distance they just might be willing completely throw over any pretense of following usual order or anything else.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • They’ll be saying one thing — we aren’t political — but their court decisions and opinions will be saying, yes they are. It’s already been done. It just depends on their political feelings on the issues. They’ll probably be swapping votes on pet political peeves.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The Executive Privilege case or cases could go either way, I think. There is chaos in allowing former Presidents to exercise it with regard to anything and everything from or about their administration, especially shielding potentially criminal decisions from legislative inquiry and/or prosecution. That point will be made in more than one brief and in oral argument (assuming the decision is not made on the shadow docket, in which case it is likely to go the wrong way). Either way, Trump’s lawyers are trying to run out the clock until the next election.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      That’s what everyone is doing with the investigative committee. Defy the subpoenas. Appeal court decisions. Run the clock until the GQP can take back the House and end the committee. If the courts help Trump do that by taking their time with their executive privilege decisions, then you’ll know that the court has been corrupt. When it makes it to SCOTUS, if they have the votes to preserve Trump’s executive privilege, they’ll do it via the shadow docket. If they don’t, they will hear arguments.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

        • Man, they certainly are. They could be part of the solution, but they’re all so afraid of not making a profit or just less profit that they won’t invest in the business model that could help them achieve it.

          The real root of the problem is the lack of demand from the consumers. We’re happy as long as we’re entertained. Infotainment.

          Jack

          Like

          • I kinda’ see it as the third leg of an old three-legged milking stool, a third column if you wish, with religion and a by design failing educational system the other two though I’m not so sure it’s the best analogy. I think religion and a by design failing educational system can be intertwined as one and the third an autocratic if not authoritarian government. Or some variation thereof, or something I can’t conceive of. It is definitely a major contributor to the system-wide ignorance that is not only tearing us up from the inside but spilling out into the outside.

            I’m trying really hard not to succumb to the notion some spider with an MBA somewhere is jerking all of our chains.

            Bread and circuses, beer and football; Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid …

            Liked by 1 person

            • Every time I read the old philosophers from the Ancient Greeks to the Enlightenment Thinkers to the Nineteenth Century whatevers t the psychoanalysts of the early twentieth century, I’m always amazed at their insights into the human condition that we are living today. We would rather the easy life and as long as it doesn’t interfere too much with our comforts and pleasures, we’re good with it. Six million Jews burned in the ovens? I got mine, so, meh! How many Palestinians killed, jailed, and suffering? We’re building new settlements! Who’s dying in factory fires and jumping from the windows on the good days? Don’t matter as long as I can buy a new $5.00 t-shirt every few months.

              Marx was right, the masses consume opiates. The medium changes, but the effect stays the same.

              Jack

              Like

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