Senate Republican, who has spent his career fighting funding limits campaign, played a leading role in challenging the vast Democrats' franchise bill.
WASHINGTON - Senator Mitch McConneHe has long been a prominent advocate for a role in American business politics, praising his participation and, most importantly, his money. So it surprised a lot this week when he shouted scandal on Major League Baseball and companies like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines are getting into the fray against Georgia's new voting restrictions.
"If I was running a big business, I would stay out of politics "said Mr. McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and Minority Leader, said during warning of" consequences "for the private sector if it occurs sided with Democrats and "far left crowds" who opposed new limits on access to the ballot box.
Les Democrats quickly grilled Mr. McConnell, noting that he personally made it through unpulged and unlimited corporate donations to Republican political efforts.
"He has no problem with them supporting all of Trump's tax cuts," said Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, who has long fought Mr. McConnell over donations close. " It 's no problem that they weigh in on laws to discourage unions. When they weigh in on behalf of voters, it crosses a line. "
On Wednesday, Mr. McConnell acknowledged a communication failure.
"I didn 't say it was very cleverly yesterday," he said at an event in Paducah, Ky., where he insisted that corporate critics were misinformed and acting on distorted representations of Georgian law provided by no less than a figurehead than President Biden. "They certainly have a right to get involved in politics He said. "So my CEO complaint: read the fucking bill.
Its misstep aside It should come as no surprise that Mr McConnell, who has built his image policy on tackling campaign finance restrictions, takes on the role of Enemy No. 1 of a reform bill. campaign spending and the expansion of voting rights pushed by Mr. Biden and the Democrats in Congress.
In meetings with colleagues, speeches andappearances in the media, he denounced the vast plan which he sees as an existential threat to the future of his party, the one he claims is based on a "big lie " that the Republicans in Georgia and other states use racist tactics reminiscent of the Jim Crow era to limit the vote.
The phrase - the same one Democrats have used to describe former President Donald J. Trump stolen false election declarations - suggests that Mr. McConnell foresees a large-scale effort to define the hts bill voting platform as corrupt and a blatant takeover.
"Our challenge, of course, is that they're going to do this about race one way or another, they're going to do it's kind of about the turnout, "McConnell said in an interview." It's not about either. It's about neither. is a partisan effort pWe rewrite the rules in a way that is beneficial to them.
Democratic legislation in Congress seeks to counter laws like Georgia's and proposals from other Republican-led states to tighten up the law. eligibility of voters and access to the ballot box after the loss of Mr. Trump. Many Republicans attribute his defeat to changes imposed by the pandemic last year, including easier voting by mail and extended early voting, and the inability to enforce strict voter verification. They are stroke to tighten to prevent a repeat.
Mr. McConnell called the scope of the franchise bill to go through Congress - which would change the way local electionsare being carried out, would limit unpulged funds, strengthen campaign law enforcement, and assert Washington's jurisdiction over statewide redistribution, among other fundamental changes - " breathtaking daring.
"To give them credit " he said of Democrats, "they haven't forgotten a single thing which they believe would be beneficial to them and disadvantage us. Image Delta Air Lines and other Georgia-based companies have condemned the new voting restrictions in the state. Credit ... Charlie Riedel / Associated Press
Mr. McConnell 's obsession with campaign rights dates back to before he was in Congress, when he taught a political science class at the University of Louisville in the 1970s. In the years that followed, he carved out a position as a leading and sometimes lonely party against campaign laws more stringent.
Many fellow Republicans shared his point of view, but did notnot willing to be as public as Mr. McConnell on an issue that some considered politically problematic. His work on campaign rules helped him laugh at the Leader of the Senate.
"This is something close to my heart " he said. "I was interested in it for most of my life before I even got to the Senate.
He celebrated that his opponents in previous campaign finance fights called him Darth Vader - the dark force opposed to a more responsible system . He took Senator John McCain, his Republican colleague from Arizona, to the Supreme Court in 2003 in a losing fight to overturn the law that bore Mr. McCain's name. But Mr McConnell felt justified when the composition of the tribunal changed and much of the law was overturned in the Citizens United decision of 2010.
Mr McConnell says the conflict is about protecting speech and First Amendment rights under the Constitution. But for his opponents - and there are many - it is about politics, and Mr. McConnell ensuring that the money he depends on continues to flow to protect his position in the Senate.
power, "said Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator from Wisconsin who co-led the so-called McCain-Feingold campaign legislation that Mr. McConnell fiercely opposed. "He would tell you he cares of this for the reasons of the First Amendment, but the truth is that he likes having access to as many unpulgated contributions as possible to maintain his position as the leader of the majority.
Democrats say Mr McConnell finds himself playing defense this time around, as evidenced by the fact that some of his allies cousual reps desert it.
"For once in his political life, business is on the opposite side of having a problem with him " said Van Hollen.
Unlike past clashes, however, Mr McConnell appears to enjoy the full support of his fellow Republicans, who are collectively outraged by the Democratic initiative.
"He is very involved in this area " said Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the most Republican of the Rules Committee, who is on account given the Democratic bill. "He understands the constitutional and structural danger and the irreversible potential of such changes. Image Voting supporters demonstrated outside the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta last month. Credit ... Nicole Craine for Hfrance.fr
With momentum in Washington stemming from what Democrats see as an unwarranted Republican crackdown in the States, Mr. McConnell and Mr. Blunt are targeting what they believe to be distortions and exaggerations about Georgia law. Mr McConnell is keen to point out that fact-checkers criticized Mr Biden for misunderstanding certain aspects of Georgia law.
"If you look at the current law, it actually expands your rights," said Mr McConnell, who also noted that Georgians would have more opportunities to vote under the new statute that residents of many other states that do not experience boycott of companies.
Although there are disagreements on the effect of specific provisions of voting changes in Georgia and proposals Advances elsewhere, Democrats and independent electoral experts say efforts in the name of electoral integrity aim to limit voting opportunities, especially for minorities who tend to favor Democrats.
Mr. McConnell took issue with this idea.
"People are not denied the right to vote all over America " said Mr McConnell, who noted that presidential participation l Highest last year since 1900. "No one wants to. I'd buy the idea that it's sort of about voter suppression." They also play the carte of race, which shows how desperate they are to shame people for voting for this monstrosity.
For all his opposition, Mr McConnell is not ruling out that Democrats could push forward the initiative, which would require a rule change for overcoming a Republican filibuster and his 60-vote requirement to move forward. Even if it becomes law, Mr McConnell has indicated he will be the first to attempt to overthrow it in front of a more sympathetic audience.
"Political speech with hope and the First Amendment will prevail in a more neutral format - in the courts," he said. "We have fortunately had good judgment, I think, on the part of the justice system over the years, which has kept us from doing the kinds of things that they are trying to do.