When Business Leaders stay out of politics, the wing nuts move into the vacuum
In one of the more bizarre moments during the election security debate currently underway in Texas, Governor Abbott said that Texas business interests ‘need to stay out of politics.’ Seriously? Senator Mitch McConnell said the same thing to business leaders last week. “Stay out of politics.” What? They are all too ready to take their donations but when they have an opinion that reflects the majority of Americans, they suddenly want them to sit quiet and color. Don’t get me wrong, both parties take their donations then often times tell them to be quiet.
I’ll remind the Governor that Texas employers and business leaders provide a vital perspective and one much more directly tied to the well-being of our state than wedge policies or political theater.
We’ve been here before. My focus is on the workforce. And the people of the workforce are the voters.
In 2017, many of you joined me when I worked with the Texas Association of Business in an effort to coordinate local, state, national, and global business opposition to a discriminatory “bathroom bill” then before the Legislature.
The coalition provided an economic impact assessment that revealed the measure would deliver an $8.5 billion decline in the state’s GDP and 185,000 lost jobs.
It changed the conversation from culture to economy and provided leaders like then-Speaker Joe Straus much needed ammunition. We beat back the culture warriors — — the politics of division lost and Texas won.
In 2021, the Legislature is leveraging election security — a vital and increasingly vulnerable component of our republic — to bolster a diminishing majority and as a red herring to misdirect voters’ attention from a lengthening history of failed governance.
A new study by the well respected Perryman Group shows that election integrity measures working their way through the Texas Legislature would cost the state $16.7 billion in annual gross product, $14.7 billion in household purchasing power, and nearly 150,000 jobs by 2025. And they would make voting harder for Texans.
None of that is good.
Regardless of the outcome, election security — and hyper-partisan attacks on it — will become a bedrock component of my civic engagement moving forward.
Here’s a couple of things I’m chewing on right now. I’d appreciate your thoughts:
- More people, not fewer, should vote and our voting infrastructure should be securely improved to make it easier than ever for American citizens to make their voices heard.
- Governing and politics are not the same thing. Leadership is not showmanship. Words matter.
Finally — if you are still reading, here are steps you can take and further reading:
More on the 2021 economic impact study: Texas Could Lose Billions If Voting Restrictions Become Law.
Keep your eye on Fair Elections Texas. I like this group.
More of my thoughts on election security here and here. I also put up a UST flash poll on the issue. Feel free to participate and comment there.