I never thought it’d happen, but Georgia has virtually become the first state to elect a black woman as governor. It was one thing for Barack Obama to get elected president. He ran for office while America was in ruins after George W. Bush’s ragged economy and expensive financial wars. Sarah Palin’s candidacy for GOP veep was shown to be a nightmare, and Michelle Obama was the real-life Clair Huxtable everyone wanted as first lady.
The other few black governors lately, such as Massachusetts’ Deval Patrick, were chosen in ultraliberal places. Doug Wilder? His election was 25 years ago with a hair in Virginia.
But Georgia electing Stacey Abrams?
Sure, she’s the former leader of the Democratic minority in the state Legislature, and a lawyer, author and Spelman grad, but still. Georgia being the first state to elect a black woman as governor, that would seem to be a political miracle.
Now, technically, the election does not happen until November, but that’s just splitting hairs at this time. Thanks to a wonderful jambalaya of National Rifle Association arrogance, gun tragedies and idiotic Georgia Republicans picking a fight with Delta Air Lines–the largest employer in the nation–it all may have just paved a way for Abrams to dub-step her way into the governor’s mansion.
Since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., everyone from schools and parents to state politicians and big businesses has been figuring out what to do about suburban mass shootings in the usa.
The NRA has maintained Republicans tap dance, and red-state Democrats have been trying out messages such as ice cream tastes. Meanwhile, corporate America has basically said “Deuces” to the whole debate.
Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart have ceased selling assault rifles and increased their in-store-gun-purchasing age to 21. Hertz and Enterprise will no longer offer discounts to NRA members.
To put it differently, big brands want from the gun business as it is good for business. However, the largest Glock blocking occurred when Delta Air Lines, whose primary hub is in Atlanta, announced that it would no longer provide discounts to NRA members.
Delta made it clear in its announcement that it was ending the discount so as to be politically neutral (and also pointed out that it’d cut ties with an anti-Trump theater group last year), but that wasn’t good enough for Georgia Lt. Gov. and GOP gubernatorial front-runner Casey Cagle:
Cagle got his wish when Georgia’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a new “tax reform” bill that will hit Delta with an additional $40 million in state taxes.
This is the exact same Delta Air Lines that employs 33,000 people in Georgia, provides over $300 million annually through taxes to Georgia state and local authorities, and donates over $12 million a year to charities, nonprofits and educational programs. This also happens to be the exact same Delta Air Lines that gave 60 percent of its political contributions to Republicans in the 2016 cycle.
You know that phrase, “Cut off your nose to spite your face”? This move by Republicans in Georgia is like castrating an ex-girlfriend to be spited by oneself. The state GOP has just shot itself in the foot, which only helps Stacey Abrams run a little bit faster.
Sucker punching the state’s largest economic engine may be a short-term increase for Casey Cagle one of the far-right pro-guns-on-planes-and-in-churches GOP primary voter, but it is going to blow up in his face when he faces Abrams in the general election.
Abrams has been leading her primary opponent Stacey Evans in the polls for months, out-raising her, out-campaigning her and getting much more national attention. In fact, the only place where Evans appears to have taken the lead over Abrams is one of the very small which I am pretty sure won’t be enough to pull off an upset.
Now that firearms are in the picture, the gap between the Democratic candidates will become even wider. Abrams not only publicly applauded Delta’s stance against the NRA but also whined about how she has never got an NRA stamp of approval. Evans now holds a B-plus score with the group.
While publicly both candidates have called for repealing the Georgia “firearms everywhere” bill that passed in 2014, Evans has maintained a much cozier relationship with the NRA than many Democrats in a primary would like to have right now.
Again, while Abrams has obtained an F by the NRA Political Victory Fund, Evans has a B-plus, which means that regardless of her latest rhetoric, she can be trusted to carry water for the NRA when the bullets start flying. Literally. Speaking of flying, now back to Delta.
Anybody who thinks that a huge corporation will take it on the chin when a political candidate requires a swipe at it does not understand American politics. If there is one thing big business hates in America, even conservative big businesses, it is being told how to handle that business by politicians (remember how right-wing NFL owners reacted if Donald Trump lectured them on participant protests?) .
It’s midterm time, also for Atlanta politicians, it is campaign “Beggin’ Season” (not to be confused with “” that has its own gun problems), and Delta Air Lines can cancel checks to the GOP faster than it can cancel a flight. Republicans better hope Delta just stays neutral, but when the company puts its strong economic impact supporting Abrams, it’s a wrap.
How is Casey Cagle likely to react when Delta announces it can’t finish donating to that children’s pediatric-cancer wing because Republicans chose guns over jobs? How is Cagle likely to be a pro-business Republican once the state’s biggest employer will see Abrams as the more realistic candidate? What happens if Delta begins flirting with cutting jobs in Georgia or, worse, flirting with everyone’s favorite second city, Charlotte, N.C.?
Republicans in Georgia have made firearms an economics issue that Democrats can actually win with.
This fall, Stacey Abrams is going to have a potential blue wave, national media attention, the right gun position and the biggest company in Georgia on her side, or, at least, not supporting the Republicans. That is a pretty powerful combination. Republicans are about to learn what happens when you bring a tax bill to a gun fight. I hope Cagle and the Republicans think fighting to get a $5 discount for the NRA is worth losing the governor’s mansion.