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Coca-Cola Backtracks From Anti-Georgia Voting Bill Stance

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


Conservatives need to learn that liberals are not the only ones who can apply pressure to major corporations, and it appears that many are starting to get it.

Coca-Cola, whose CEO came out in strong opposition to the Georgia voting bill, is now backtracking and looking to find “common ground,” The Washington Examiner reported.

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Coca-Cola, whose CEO denounced the Georgia voting bill, is now striking a conciliatory tone after coming under pressure from conservatives.

The soda giant, which is based in Atlanta, was absent from a list of more than 500 corporations and individuals that signed a statement condemning any election legislation that would “restrict” voters from having “an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot.” The missive was placed as a two-page Wednesday ad in the New York Times and Washington Post, with the effort being organized by the Black Economic Alliance.

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Coca-Cola said in a statement to the Washington Examiner on Wednesday that the company “had not seen the letter” initiated by the alliance but is “certainly open to hearing their perspective.” It said it has supported the right to vote and that it will assess how to support voting rights.

“We believe the best way to make progress now is for everyone to come together to listen, respectfully share concerns and collaborate on a path forward. We remain open to productive conversations with advocacy groups and lawmakers who may have differing views,” it said this week. “It’s time to find common ground. In the end, we all want the same thing – free and fair elections, the cornerstone of our democracy.”

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That was a whole lot different than what the company’s CEO said weeks ago when a social media campaign by the left pressured the company into coming out against the voting security laws.

“We want to be crystal clear and state unambiguously that we are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation,” Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said weeks ago. “Throughout Georgia’s legislative session we provided feedback to members of both legislative chambers and political parties, opposing measures in the bills that would diminish or deter access to voting.”

“We always opposed this legislation,” he said to CNBC’s Sara Eisen on “Power Lunch.” “Now that it’s passed, we’re coming out more publicly.”

“Let me, let me get crystal clear and unequivocal. This legislation is unacceptable. It is a step backwards and it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity and this is, this is frankly just a step backwards. We’ve spent many decades promoting within Georgia a better society and a better environment for business and this is a step backwards and we’re very clear on that and our position remains the same. This legislation is wrong and needs to be remedied and we will continue to advocate for it both in private and now even more clearly in public,” he said to the host.

“We’ve always opposed this legislation. We have a long track record of working in Georgia with alliances on our own account, with legislators, with stakeholders to improve legislation and we were doing so again this time. But the result of this legislation in an area that’s particularly sensitive and important for Georgia has not resulted in something that is acceptable, we believe, for the citizens of Georgia. So we’re coming out even more clearly saying that this is wrong and it needs to change. The reality is many things are improved and done and achieved in private without having to take it public, in this case it does not work, clearly, we’re being more forceful in our public position, even more than we were earlier this week and will continue to advocate for change in Georgia,” he said.

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But perhaps he forgot that conservatives spend money too and have had it with corporate big wigs telling them what they can and cannot do.

The company apparently remembered now because the grandstanding is done.

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