The old alliance between the Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Party has officially collapsed. Fractures started in 2020 when the Chamber endorsed 23 freshman Democrats for re-election despite their anti-business voting records. Now, the GOP is becoming openly hostile, most recently barring the Chamber’s representatives from hearings.
"If you want to join something that’s a wing of the Republican Party, go for it. And if we don’t fit your needs, that’s fine."
The @USChamber sticks to guns vs. GOP, as Senate Rs ban Chamber from hearings.
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) May 17, 2021
Per The Washington Post, the leadership of the Chamber remains aggressively stubborn about their new strategy. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen exactly what that strategy hopes to accomplish.
Tom Wilson, chief executive of the insurance giant Allstate and former chair of the U.S. Chamber board, said the Chamber makes no apologies for its decision.
“Sure, there are some people who don’t like what we’re doing, because they signed on thinking it was a wing of the Republican Party,” Wilson said in an interview. “And we’re like, ‘That’s okay. If you want to join something that’s a wing of the Republican Party, go for it. And if we don’t fit your needs, that’s fine.’”
Even so, the conservative backlash has led to alarm even among some of the organization’s closest allies. A veteran U.S. Chamber board member, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisal, said: “It is a legitimate question how well-thought out this strategy is. People are concerned, and they’re discussing where else they can send revenues to support free enterprise.”
Do you know where you shouldn’t send revenues to support free enterprise? The Democrat Party. Yet, because of the Chamber’s fairly new, more progressive leadership, how they score candidates changed. Because of that change, they managed to rate the guy who wrote the 2017 tax cuts lower than someone who endorsed the PROAct, a pro-union destruction of small businesses and sub-contractors. Contrast that with the Chamber’s bullheaded assistance that their endorsements are about policy as seen below.
“We expect criticism when we work with Republicans who are aligned with us on key issues, and when we work with Democrats for the same reason,” the spokesman said. “No member of Congress has a right to our support — they have to earn it and re-earn it. We focus on the issues, not the parties, and we won’t back down.”
In fact, all 14 freshman Democrats the Chamber backed in 2020 that won ended up supporting the PROAct, so how exactly are they focusing on “issues” as claimed above? They simply aren’t, and it’s obvious. There is no real pro-business faction within the Democrat Party these days, and because of the Chamber’s stupidity, they are quickly losing that faction within the Republican Party as well.
Major GOP figures have spoken out against them lately.
In recent months, the Chamber has been the object of sharp attacks by leading conservatives. Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) called it a “front service for woke corporations.” Senate Minority LeaderMitch McConnell (Ky.) called it “confused.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) was so irked by the Chamber’s decision to endorse 23 freshman House Democrats for reelection last fall that he said he doesn’t even want its endorsement anymore.
As I’ve written before, Republicans don’t need the Chamber. What they contribute monetarily is minuscule in the grand scheme of fundraising (only $5.7M in 2020 to GOP candidates). Further, Republican voters aren’t keen on blind worship of huge, woke corporations, and while the Chamber claims to represent the little guy, it’s fairly clear they are simply a lobbying front for big business at this point.
And that’s really what we are seeing here, in my opinion. The Chamber’s new leadership is following the path that its corporate masters are blazing in regards to “social justice” and woke politics. That’s being done in an attempt to appease the Democrats in hopes the alligator eats them last. Meanwhile, the small businesses and entrepreneurs that the Chamber claims to exist for stand to get even more crushed.
Telling the Chamber to pound sand is the right move. Let them wither on the vine under the scorching sun of their own decisions. Republicans should not be there to answer the phone when they come calling.