Remember when MLB moved the All-Star Game from Atlanta

In 2021, to great fanfare, Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest over Georgia’s new voting law, relocating the game to Denver. Commissioner Rob Manfred justified this at the time by saying that MLB “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.” The decision came after President Joe Biden told ESPN that he would “strongly support” moving the July 13 game because of a law he described as “Jim Crow on steroids.”

If only MLB had been as diligent about the real problem of steroids as it was about the fake threat of a new Jim Crow.

The game’s boycott of Georgia was one of the most notorious examples of corporations using monopolistic power (in MLB’s case, power derived from its unique exemption from the Sherman Antitrust Act) to bully states out of passing laws popular with their voters. Governor Brian Kemp, in turn, provided a model of how to resist that pressure. He was ultimately rewarded by Georgia voters with another term, defeating Stacey Abrams. Abrams, the original source of the false narrative about Georgia as a hotbed of voter suppression as part of her denial of her defeat in 2018 by Kemp, was compelled to distance herself from the unpopular decision to punish her state and the city of Atlanta.

It was also a prime example of how woke corporations base their decisions on lies fed to them by activists. The Georgia law was never a threat to anyone’s fundamental voting rights. But neither the ordinary Georgia voter nor the ordinary sports fan was given a say. Rather than standing up for democracy, Manfred’s decision was a cautionary tale of what happens in its absence. Corporations and other business associations are well designed to identify and pursue their own economic interests, but they are poorly suited to substitute themselves for legislatures in deciding matters of general importance to the public. They should stop trying to arrogate that power to themselves.

Kemp has since been vindicated. A survey after the 2022 election found that 0 percent of black voters reported a bad experience voting. The election was held so cleanly that even Abrams didn’t challenge its integrity. Neither did Biden, who had publicly refused to declare the 2022 midterms legitimate unless he got a law federalizing elections (which didn’t pass). Neither did Donald Trump after his preferred candidates lost the primary for governor and other state offices and the general election for the Senate. Georgia’s voting law worked, and both parties proved they could win under it.

For Manfred, the immediate karmic payback arrived when the Atlanta Braves won the 2021 World Series, although he was spared the indignity of handing them their trophy on Georgia soil when they won the deciding game in Houston. Now, he has announced that the All-Star Game will return to Atlanta in 2025, while Kemp is still governor and the Georgia election law is still in force. This time, Manfred will be the one eating crow.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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