The battle was lost long before President Joe Biden lied about Georgia’s new voting law. Following the chaos and controversies of a pandemic-influenced 2020 election, the Georgia legislature’s final passage of a new law seeking to reform the state’s voting process set off a push by Democrats led by Stacey Abrams — assisted by the legacy media — to punish the state. The most vulnerable target was Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game, formerly scheduled to be held in Atlanta on July 13.
The president called the legislation an “atrocity” and “Jim Crow on steroids,” as well as mischaracterizing many of its provisions including partisans giving water or other enticements to those standing on line close to the polling booths. He claimed it mandated closing the polls at 5 p.m. throughout the state even though it does no such thing. Indeed, so appalling was Biden’s departure from the truth that even the Democrat partisans who run the Washington Post’s fact-checker column awarded Biden the maximum “Four Pinocchios” for that whopper.
But while the league’s decision to move the game out of Atlanta was certainly influenced by the president’s histrionics, the die was cast long before he launched his puzzling rhetorical improvisations about the law making “Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.”
As we saw repeatedly last summer, the corporate world is the last place to look for courage at standing up to the latest imperatives being handed down by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and advocates of critical race theory. Remember, the nation’s leading companies lined up to back the inaccurate assertions about pervasive institutional racism and police violence against black Americans that went largely unchallenged in the mainstream media following the death of George Floyd.
While it’s not clear that anyone was likely to give up his favorite soft drink or choose to fly on a different airline because of a political controversy, both Coke and Delta soon fell in line as the heads of the companies condemned the legislation.
But the MLB’s plan to stage its annual summer classic in Truist Park, located in the Atlanta suburbs of Cobb County, was the perfect BLM target. Tony Clark, the head of the MLB Players Association, Dave Roberts, manager of the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Yankees star slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who led his team in taking a knee during the national anthem at the start of the 2020 season, all weighed in on behalf of moving the game. Roberts, who is scheduled to manage the National League squad in the All-Star game, said he would boycott the game if it was not moved.
Not surprisingly, the declarations from Clark, Stanton, and Roberts were long on generalizations but ignored the specifics of the bill. The same was true of MLB’s announcement about moving the game. It didn’t matter how false the charges were about the voting bill, once the leading voices of popular culture start mimicking the lies of radicals and partisans, companies with a lot of money to lose are bound to fall in line.
The bill’s requirement for IDs for mail-in ballots is not “voter suppression.” According to polls, voter ID laws have long been supported by overwhelming majorities of Americans, including black Americans, by margins of 4-1. Non-white Americans know they are as capable of acquiring a photo ID and reading its numbers as anyone else.
Rather than limiting early voting, the new bill expands its use in most of the state. The notion that limiting applications for a mail-in ballot to 78 days before the election as opposed to six months prior will make it harder to vote is similarly unfounded. The idea that drop boxes shouldn’t be limited to areas where they can be monitored is simply absurd.
The claim that the bill prevents voters standing on line from receiving water is equally fallacious. As in most states, efforts to ban partisans from electioneering in the direct vicinity of voting booths — while allowing poll workers to supply water to those waiting to vote — are normal and in effect in many states in one form or another and don’t adversely affect black Americans. Nor are they “gratuitously cruel.”
But this sort of hyperbole mixed with blatant falsehoods is par for the course when discussing voting in Georgia. While the left focuses on President Trump’s claims that voter fraud cost him the state last November, corporate media has had no scruples about recycling demonstrably false claims from Democrats. Indeed, ever since Abrams lost the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race by more than 50,000 votes, she’s been claiming she really won but was denied victory because of “voter suppression” that largely consisted of trimming the state’s voting rolls of people who had died or moved.
At a cultural moment when critical race theory and assumptions about systemic racism routinely go unchallenged, the idea that Georgia Republicans are practicing Jim Crow with a measure that does nothing to deprive minorities of their rights fits in with the prevailing conventional wisdom in a way that is almost impervious to the facts.
In such an environment, athletes are easily led to endorse radical BLM positions. The sports world first made that clear with quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his vague and facts-free claims about racism. Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem started a trend that turned the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” into an ongoing battle. Although sports leagues initially resisted disrespect for the anthem, after Floyd, most embraced the practice or turned a blind eye to it.
There’s also a direct precedent for moving an all-star game. In 2017, North Carolina’s passage of a state law protecting students against being exposed to people of different sexes in bathrooms led to the moving of the National Basketball Association’s All-Star game from Charlotte because of myths about the transphobia of the state’s “bathroom bill.”
That the baseball players and owners are on the eve of what is likely to be a difficult negotiation over their next contract made it all the more likely the owners were not going to hand Clark’s union an excuse to bring false charges of racism into their talks that would be widely repeated in a media all-too-eager to brand any recalcitrant company as racist. Nor was anyone in baseball or corporate media interested in discussing the hypocrisy of a sport that is investing in China, which even the Biden administration sees as not just a human rights offender but a practitioner of genocide.
Now that MLB has moved the 2021 All-Star Game to Denver’s Coors Field, the hypocrisy is even more extreme considering that Colorado also has a photo ID requirement and two fewer days of early voting than Georgia.
Of course, also ignored amid all of this was something host team Atlanta Braves noted in their response to the MLB move. The big losers in all of this are ordinary Atlantans, many of whom are black Americans. They will suffer by being deprived of the jobs and revenue that would have gotten had the game remained in their city.
When race-baiting becomes the issue, the facts about voting or any other issue never matter when industries have much to lose and little to gain from standing up to woke, leftist bullies.