Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The enterprise of America is defending enterprise


More than 100 corporate executives hold call to discuss halting donations and investments to fight controversial voting bills

More than 100 chief executives and corporate leaders gathered online Saturday to discuss taking new action to combat the controversial state voting bills being considered across the country, including the one recently signed into law in Georgia.

Executives from major airlines, retailers and manufacturers — plus at least one NFL owner — talked about potential ways to show they opposed the legislation, including by halting donations to politicians who support the bills and even delaying investments in states that pass the restrictive measures, according to four people who were on the call, including one of the organizers, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale management professor.

While no final steps were agreed upon, the meeting represents an aggressive dialing up of corporate America’s stand against controversial voting measures nationwide, a sign that their opposition to the laws didn’t end with the fight against the Georgia legislation passed in March.


NBC News:

‘White Lives Matter’ rallies flop as hardly anyone shows up

The poor turnout underscores how the nation’s unpopular and disorganized extremist movements have been driven underground.

In semi-private, encrypted chats, neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists planned rallies in dozens of cities on Sunday to promote their racist movements and spread their ideologies to larger audiences.

Hyped by organizers as events that would make “the whole world tremble,” the rallies ran into a major problem on Sunday: Hardly anyone showed up.


Jamelle Bouie/NY TYimes:

If It’s Not Jim Crow, What Is It?

Georgia’s new voting law has to be understood in its own peculiar historical context.

The laws that disenfranchised Black Americans in the South and established Jim Crow did not actually say they were disenfranchising Black Americans and creating a one-party racist state.

I raise this because of a debate among politicians and partisans on whether Georgia’s new election law — rushed through last month by the state’s Republican legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican — is a throwback to the Jim Crow restrictions of the 20th century.

Democrats say yes. “This is Jim Crow in the 21st century. It must end,” President Biden said in a statement. Republicans and conservative media personalities say no. “You know what voter suppression is?” Ben Shapiro said on his very popular podcast. “Voter suppression is when you don’t get to vote.”

The problem with the “no” argument here is that it mistakes both the nature and the operation of Jim Crow voting laws. There was no statute that said, “Black people cannot vote.” Instead, Southern lawmakers spun a web of restrictions and regulations meant to catch most Blacks (as well as many whites) and keep them out of the electorate. It is true that the “yes” argument of President Biden and other Democrats overstates similarities and greatly understates key differences — chief among them the violence that undergirded the Jim Crow racial order. But the “no” argument of conservatives and Republicans asks us to ignore context and extend good faith to lawmakers who overhauled their state’s election laws because their party lost an election.


Edward Isaac-Dovere/Atlantic:

Vaccine Refusal Will Come at a Cost—For All of Us

People who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine will have higher health-care costs. The rest of us will foot the bill.

If the 30 percent of Americans who are telling pollsters they won’t get vaccinated follow through, the costs of their decisions will pile up. The economy could take longer to get back to full speed, and once it does, it could get shut down again by outbreaks. Variants will continue to spread, and more people will die. Each COVID-19 case requires weeks of costly rehabilitation. Even after the pandemic fades, millions of vaccine refusers could turn into hundreds of thousands of patients who need extra care, should they come down with the disease. Their bet that they’ve outsmarted the coronavirus or their insistence that Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates were trying to trick them will not stop them from going to the doctor when they’re having trouble breathing, dealing with extreme fatigue, or struggling with other lasting effects of COVID-19. (A new study found that 34 percent of COVID-19 survivors are diagnosed with a neurological or psychological condition within six months of recovering from the initial illness.)

Caitlin Owens/Axios:

America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall

Why it matters: For the last few months, the primary focus of the U.S. has been getting shots to everyone who wants them, as quickly as possible. Soon, that focus will abruptly shift to convincing holdouts to get vaccinated.

State of play: Red states in the South are administering the lowest portion of the vaccine doses that they receive from the federal government — a sign of low demand, slow public health systems, or both.

  • The most vaccine-reluctant Americans are white Republicans, polling has found.


Biden pursues giant boost for science spending

US president’s first budget proposal emphasizes applied research and public health, and aims to tackle climate change and racial injustice.

Although short on detail, the budget proposal would raise core funding for research and development across nearly every major federal science agency, including historic increases to improve public health and battle racial injustices. In line with a US$2.3-trillion infrastructure proposal released by Biden on 31 March, the budget puts a clear emphasis on applied research and development programmes intended to make the United States healthier, cleaner and more competitive.


Dan Drezner/WaPo:

Twilight of the economists? More like twilight of the neoliberals.

This is a column about the possible decline of economists in the marketplace of ideas, so it seems fitting to start it by talking about a political scientist.

Yale University’s Stephen Skowronek has explained the Trump presidency better than other theories (including mine). His theory places Donald Trump in the “disjunctive presidency” bin, the same category as John Quincy Adams and Jimmy Carter: presidents who take office as the exhausted heir of a bankrupt political ideology. These presidencies, by performing so badly, are usually followed by “transformative presidencies” that lead the country in a decidedly different direction.

In an interview in October with the Nation’s Richard Kreitner, Skowronek suggested that if Joe Biden won, he might surprise people: “Joe Biden is possibly the least likely reconstructive leader you can imagine, and yet I’m not giving up on him completely.” He concluded, “In some ways, having a moderate with a reconstructive movement or coalition at his back is exactly where you want to be.”

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