Yeah, not so much. Judd Legum and Popular Information asked over 100 of those companies whether they supported filibuster reform as part of their federal voting reforms support. They got substantive responses from just two. Patagonia and Richer Poorer said that they supported that filibuster reform. Most of the rest didn’t respond at all, and those that did evaded the question.
So then. How do we count this one? Should we be impressed that some of the biggest companies in America are willing to put out statements supporting voting rights? Or should we be skeptical, if the companies aren’t willing to support the only possible thing that will make it actually happen?
It’s not an easy question but, at the very least, it certainly dampens any theories that these companies are truly onboard with the whole “democracy is good and should be protected” vibe that many were going for. But there’s another part to it that makes it look even less impressive: Of the many companies that made the bare-minimum promise to at least not give campaign money to the Republicans that voted, on Jan. 6, to nullify the election, nearly all have gone back on their word. That’s because Republican lawmakers explicitly threatened retaliation against companies that did cut off the attempted coup’s allies, and because lobbyists and corporations have been quietly bowing to those threats, resuming such funding.
And, in the meantime, the Republican Party has coalesced around near-unanimous support for—or at least refusal to speak out against—hoax claims still insisting that the election was “stolen” from Trump. That belief is now central to a fascist movement that believes elections themselves are illegitimate or corrupt if they do not win them, and it is that precise hoax that is being used by Republican state lawmakers to justify the new anti-voter laws they’re putting in place.
We understand. It is risky for any company, even ones as powerful as Apple or Google, to put out statements opposing an anti-democratic white nationalist movement that could very well insert itself as the next “true” government of the United States. Companies do not want to go out on that limb precisely because they could become the named enemies of those willing to corrupt whatever parts of government need to be corrupted to make that movement ascendent; the national Republicans blocking federal reversals of new anti-civil rights laws have been willing to turn their gaze aside even as a party leader turned the White House into a criminal operation, and those lawmakers may very well look to retaliate against companies that publicly defy them.
It’s the same threat that Trump himself used to bring the whole Republican Party into at least tacit support for erasing a constitutional election: Keep your mouth shut, or you will be targeted. It’s a ploy that only works if the vast majority of targets are, as is the case within the party, gutless cowards; if even a minority of Republicans were willing to return fire with condemnations of the Trump team’s blatant and anti-American propaganda, Trump could again be reduced to the laughingstock he once was.
If companies turned against Trumpist anti-democratic moves en masse, they’d all be protected from retaliation because the anti-democratic plotters would be in no position to retaliate—or, probably, even in office. But instead those companies have proven to have only the barest and transient objections to anti-democratic moves—with most not even being able to muster the courage to not fund those that have so damaged the country. It seems that once again, corporate claims of doing civic good don’t make it much farther than a few press releases before sinking back into the mire.