The Rise of the Big Business Democrats

Photo credit: frankieleon via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

There was a time, not long ago, when Democrats commonly accused the Republican Party of being the “Party of Big Business.” Republicans, or so it was claimed, cared more about corporate interests than those of the average voter, while Democrats were supposedly looking out for the little guy.

During this election season, however, there has been a substantial — and yet barely noticed — change in Democratic rhetoric. Rather than vilifying big businesses, many Democratic leaders and candidates have started to openly trumpet their high regard for the priorities of the corporate world.

Why this sudden change? Because Big Business has finally gotten on the “Right Side of History”TM — in other words, the progressive side.

Just consider a few recent examples.

In Indiana earlier this week, John Gregg, the Democratic candidate for governor, was asked in an interview to discuss LGBT rights issues in light of the recent controversy over the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In defending his support for the LGBT agenda, Gregg framed it as “an economic issue” and went on to explain how high a priority it is for business:

It’s a top five issue in the Chamber of Commerce. I’ve heard it in Eli Lilly’s executive suite. I’ve heard it in Hillenbrand’s executive suite, who’s another one of our major corporate citizens. I’ve heard it in Salesforce’s executive suites. We have to do that….

Or consider the case in Louisiana, where the state’s attorney general announced yesterday he would be pursuing a legal challenge to Governor John Bel Edwards’ attempt to unilaterally change state anti-discrimination law, charging that the governor surpassed his constitutional authority. Continue Reading