If they’re going to do something as draconian as this, you would think they’d identify so much as one provision of the new law that troubles them.
Commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t bother. There are only passing references here to “values” and “fair access to voting.”
Which is honest, in a sense. MLB has no problem with Georgia’s law on the merits. This is a naked capitulation to liberals to keep them off the sport’s back and Manfred’s barely pretending otherwise.
— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) April 2, 2021
Here’s where I remind you that Stacey Abrams was so worried about boycotts of Georgia gaining momentum on the left that she cut a video and published an op-ed discouraging them. Georgia’s new senator, Jon Ossoff, also rejected boycotts in a statement this morning:
“I absolutely oppose and reject any notion of boycotting Georgia,” Ossoff said. “Georgia welcomes business, investment, jobs, opportunity, and events. In fact, economic growth is driving much of the political progress we have seen here. Georgia welcomes the world’s business. Corporations disgusted like we are with the disgraceful Voter Suppression bill should stop any financial support to Georgia’s Republican Party, which is abusing its power to make it harder for Americans to vote.”
Abrams and Ossoff know that it’s Georgia’s workers and business owners who’ll ultimately be hurt by boycotts and they also know which party will be blamed for the resulting economic hit. Hint: It’s the one that’s running around claiming that the new law is “Jim Crow on steroids” and trying to ram H.R. 1 through Congress. MLB has put them in an awkward position by pulling the plug on the All-Star Game, signaling that woke corporate America is seemingly more offended by Georgia’s election reforms than its own leading Democratic politicians are. After all, if the law really is the abomination that Biden’s party claims it is, why wouldn’t a boycott be in order? Civil-rights activists used them routinely in the 1950s and 60s to pressure legislators in segregated states. You can have your Jim Crow analogies or you can argue that what Georgia did with its new law isn’t boycott-worthy, but you can’t do both.
MLB’s in an awkward position now too, though. Manfred and his team had better be verrrrry sure that whichever state ends up hosting the All-Star Game has more liberal voting laws than Georgia does. Republicans will be examining those laws closely for comparison, to see just how seriously baseball takes its supposed commitment to voter access.
The last MLB All Star Game was held in Cleveland in 2019.
Ohio requires voters applying for an absentee ballot to provide the same thing Georgia does. Ohio offers 22 days of early voting, Georgia offers at least 17, up to 19. pic.twitter.com/yNNoGFlbeD
— Declan Garvey (@declanpgarvey) April 2, 2021
It would be one thing if Georgia’s law really were as obnoxious as it’s cracked up to be. But most of the truly restrictive proposals, like eliminating no-excuse absentee voting, ended up being tossed. The White House has had to resort to lies about what the law does in order to drum up momentum sufficient to pressure corporations into condemning it. (Remember, Delta initially praised the law before a woke backlash forced them to reconsider.) And Biden himself has embraced those lies in the name of encouraging a boycott of a U.S. state, an unprecedented move by a sitting president. I quoted Gabriel Sterling’s comment to the Dispatch in an earlier post but it’s worth repeating: “I think it’s morally reprehensible and disgusting that he’s perpetuating economic blackmail over a lie. It’s a lie. This is no different than the lie of Trump saying there was voter fraud in this state. And the people who are going to be most hurt by [a boycott] are the workers in all of these places that are going to be impacted.”
A Twitter pal wonders whether other Republican governors might show solidarity with Georgia here by refusing an offer from MLB to host the game. If Manfred approaches Ron DeSantis about playing in Miami or Tampa instead, what will DeSantis say?
Gonna be some awkward questions for the White House as the boycott campaign proceeds apace, too. Here’s Jen Psaki being asked today why an MLB boycott of Atlanta is justified but a U.S. Olympic boycott of China’s genocidal regime isn’t, and not having much of an answer. I wonder if Abrams and Ossoff will reach out to Sleepy Joe and remind him that publicly encouraging business to leave Georgia isn’t a good look in a 50/50 state where Raphael Warnock and Abrams herself will be on the ballot in two years.
.@RealClearNews's @PhilipWegmann asks Jen Psaki if the Biden White House is so adamant about having MLB move its All-Star Game from Georgia because of the voting law, why aren't they calling for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing?!
Psaki did NOT like this question. pic.twitter.com/1GbTxRsmhC
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 2, 2021
Update: The Atlanta Braves also understand who’ll be chiefly hurt by a boycott, and it’s not Brian Kemp:
The Braves statement regarding the moving of the MLB All-Star Game: pic.twitter.com/0Iapm3eIre
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 2, 2021
The Braves’ home city will take the heaviest blow from losing the All-Star Game. Atlanta voted for Biden by a margin of nearly 50 points in November.
Update: Complicity with China isn’t the only line of attack on corporate hypocrites:
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) April 2, 2021
Update: Raphael Warnock and Stacey Abrams are choosing their words carefully this afternoon but they’re both anti-boycott, as any local politician who wants to be reelected necessarily is.
Stacey Abrams statement on MLB All Star Game decision not to hold game in Atlanta: pic.twitter.com/JVuTy6AaDt
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) April 2, 2021
Update: Brian Kemp senses an opportunity here to get righties back on his side after the “stop the steal” saga and he’s taking full advantage.
— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) April 2, 2021