Republicans are crying "cancel culture" again after a slate of corporations decried state-level proposals to limit access to the ballot box, like Georgia's S.B. 202, which was recently signed into law by its Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
The new law, which limits the number of ballot drop boxes in each jurisdiction and effectively bans providing food or water to voters in long lines, sparked widespread public outcry, prompting companies like Delta and Major League Baseball to publicly speak out against the bill.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri invoked this corporate backlash in his unveiling of new legislation designed to curb the political power of America's richest companies.
Hawley introduced the Trust-Busting For the 21st Century Act, which would ban acquisitions of smaller companies by companies worth more than $100 billion. He noted a recent virtual meeting of 100 corporations to discuss paths forward in the face of the numerous voter suppression bills sprouting up across the country under the guise of "election integrity."
"Their efforts to influence or outright stop voting laws in various states, this is indicative I think of the kind of very significant and growing political power that the largest concentrated corporations the mega corporations have in this country and are willing to use today. Today it is election integrity, tomorrow it will be something else. The point is that their political power is tracking their economic power."
In an appearance with white nationalist Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Hawley claimed the public was living in fear of being "canceled" by corporations.
Josh Hawley says voters are living in fear of big corporations trying to cancel them https://t.co/gn2LlcBsaj— Acyn (@Acyn)1618273962.0
"On the Republican side, you're really seeing eyes open to the power and danger of these monopolies. I think voters already know it, I mean they're living it. They're being censored on social media, they're living in fear that these banks are gonna cancel them, that big corporations are gonna cancel them, and I think that Republican elected officials are listening to voters, are opening their eyes, are realizing the dangers, and it's time to do something about it."
Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have long defended the so-called freedom of corporations to donate hundreds of thousands to political action committees funding their campaigns.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for greater oversight and limits on the power of multibillion dollar corporations, but people weren't buying Hawley's argument that the public was living in fear of being "canceled" by corporations.
Dude, it’s literally the exact opposite. https://t.co/p2CZP5Sos5— Sleeping Giants (@Sleeping Giants)1618276338.0
You want to write about a hysterical moral panic write about this one https://t.co/wOosZfCrNY— Flag Smasher (@Flag Smasher)1618274743.0
"Living in fear that these banks are going to cancel them" .....what? https://t.co/mBUEsNhTIV— Amarnath Amarasingam (@Amarnath Amarasingam)1618284203.0
I’m more afraid of Josh Hawley. https://t.co/oP02IGlEKx— Roger Tansey 🌊🐕🌈 (@Roger Tansey 🌊🐕🌈)1618286790.0
Do people actually believe what comes out of Republicans mouths? https://t.co/zdD9y2ilOf— evie ღ 😷 (@evie ღ 😷)1618280934.0
They also pointed out that Hawley, even immediately after the January 6 insurrection, backed attempts to overturn millions of votes in swing states Trump lost during the congressional certification of now-President Joe Biden's victory.
Josh Hawley says citizens are worried that big corporations are going to “cancel them” after he l… https://t.co/OFXmY4BE2R— Ryan Chase (@Ryan Chase)1618279151.0
FYI: it was Josh Harley, not corporations (other than Fox and Newsmax) that tried to cancel votes. https://t.co/5REj5VApeH— Dean Gloster (@Dean Gloster)1618282734.0
Hawley needs to be arrested for sedition!! He does NOT care about voters, he attempted to throw out their votes and… https://t.co/JynmmnEgbd— Pati (@Pati)1618275571.0
Josh Hawley also fomented insurrection at the Capitol and tried to overturn the will of the people in an attack on… https://t.co/fTE72MqibH— Craig Newman (@Craig Newman)1618275907.0
The Senate is currently considering the For the People Act, a landmark voting rights bill that would push back against state legislation to suppress the vote, but the 60 vote threshold imposed by the Senate filibuster makes its passage highly unlikely for the time being.