Republicans want to make "woke" corporations pay — literally

The increasingly aggressive pushback against politically outspoken companies is the latest, and perhaps purest, illustration of a party at a philosophical crossroads. Republicans spent decades aligning themselves with the business community and its preferences for lower taxes and fewer regulations. During the 2017 GOP tax reform push, the party slashed the corporate rate from 35 to 21 percent. In return, they have been bolstered with industry money and political support. Now, however, they’re betting that they can win on a backlash to the idea that political correctness has entered the boardroom and is irreversibly damaging conservative causes.

For Trump alumni like Vought and other conservatives who have soured on big business, the sudden enthusiasm for their cause has been a welcome development. Still, many conservatives remain skeptical that the newly coordinated campaign portends a seismic shift for Republicans. There is, for example, no appetite to embrace a corporate tax hike as proposed by President Joe Biden to pay for infrastructure spending. But while it may not be the end of the marriage for Republicans and big business, even they see it as the beginning of a volatile patch in the relationship…

The aggressive public pressure campaign by conservatives aimed at influencing corporate behavior is putting corporations in the uncomfortable position of having to straddle both the left’s calls for social justice and the right’s unexpected threats to their bottom line. Some Republicans say they are simply taking a page from the Democrats’ playbook — just as progressives called for a boycott on Equinox gyms after its CEO donated to Trump or a ban on the In-N-Out burger chain after its founder donated to the California Republican Party.