As usual, the movement’s hysterical leaders were the last to realize that they’d been shooting themselves in the foot
T he thing about boycotts is that they don’t work too well in a vacuum. If you start a parade and no one gets in line behind you, you aren’t a leader; you’re just a fool walking down the middle of the street twirling a baton.
The failed boycott-Georgia movement illustrates the limits of the Democratic Party’s tactic of attaching hysterical overreaction and claims of racism to virtually any Republican idea, even a routine package of voting reforms.
The Democrats turned the volume up to eleven on the Georgia elections bill signed into law March 25, labeling it the second coming of Jim Crow even before it was signed. Joe Biden, in a “Hello, fellow kids” moment meant to prove he was hip to cutting-edge Democratic thinking, on March 31 asserted that this ordinary, dull piece of good-government legislation was actually worse than Jim Crow, and that most of the country was in the process of becoming something more awful than 1957 Mississippi.
“This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing in Georgia and 40 other states,” Biden said on ESPN on March 31. He was unaware that New York and many other states already have on the books policies comparable to, or more restrictive than, the new Georgia law, such as bans on outside groups’ providing things of value to voters waiting in line at the polls.
The fanciful Jim Crow comparisons were meant to fire up Democratic activists and donors, but once you’ve unleashed such a heinous allegation, the allegation tends to take over. So Biden said he would “strongly support” MLB’s moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, and two days later, on Good Friday, MLB obliged.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred poured gasoline all over himself and then lit a match when he announced that he was moving the All-Star Game. Later he announced that Atlanta, which is mostly black, would be replaced by snow-white Denver as the game’s host. You really have to be a Democrat to savor the logic of “fighting racism” by yanking jobs and income from black folks and redistributing them to white people. Manfred should change his name to Merkle, the previous standard for bonehead thinking in his sport.
Questions immediately arose. How far did the logic of boycotts go? The Atlanta Braves play 81 games a year in Georgia. Was any state in which the All-Star Game might be played required to have less burdensome voting restrictions, and was MLB suddenly now in the business of perusing voting statutes before scheduling a ball game?
Should other corporations and sports leagues doing business in Georgia support boycotts, and wouldn’t that just punish Georgia Democrats and Republicans alike? Was “Let’s own the Republicans by hurting Georgia’s economy” now official Democratic Party dogma? If so, maybe the party should ditch its traditional donkey symbol in favor of an image of Sideshow Bob stepping on an endless series of rakes.