For over a year, a battle over heavy handed federal regulation of America’s tech sector has raged in the Senate. While most Republicans have steered clear of empowering the Biden administration to determine even more economic outcomes, a small subsection of the GOP has thrown their lot in with Progressives. These Republicans, including Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, have argued that antitrust proposals like Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s S. 2992 and Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s S. 2710 are the best path to limit a social media company’s ability to deplatform conservative voices. But looking at the bills’ left-wing boosters, there’s a sinking suspicion that conservatives are getting the raw end of the deal.
Case in point, Hillary Clinton recently boosted a Jennifer Rubin op-ed that endorses passing these progressive tech regulations. Clinton and Rubin are not exactly famous for their support of Republican voices online. Of course, Clinton is famous for regarding any American that didn’t agree with her as “deplorable” during her second, ill-fated run for President. Rubin, a former Republican, has publicly repudiated every conservative opinion she ever supposedly held in order to cater to a new, fawning Democrat audience at The Washington Post. Is it really safe to assume these two have endorsed regulations that would empower their political opponents?
Clinton steered her Twitter audience to the group Accountable Tech to learn more about the fight for antitrust legislation and against “corporate greed.” Accountable Tech is one of the main, outside proponents of S. 2992 and S. 2710 and is, importantly, bankrolled by Clinton’s own group Onward Together. Onward Together runs a PAC that funds Democrat candidates like Raphael Warnock, Stacey Abrams and Gretchen Whitmer. The group also funds third party organizations like Indivisible and Swing Left, which exist to cement a progressive congressional majority, and Demand Justice, which works to pull the Supreme Court to the left.
Do these groups sound like they would be tolerant of conservatives espousing their beliefs? Would they dedicate resources to passing bills that gave Republicans and conservative voices additional legal protections online?
Of course not.
That isn’t nearly an exhaustive list of the leftist groups and figures supporting the antitrust takeover. “Comedian” John Oliver dedicated an entire episode of his HBO Max show to Klobuchar’s bill. What’s funnier than antitrust legislation? Interestingly, all of Oliver’s citations were screenshots of the antitrust report which progressive Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan wrote while she worked for the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee. Additionally, far-left advocacy group Fight for the Future has been an aggressive crusader for expanding government power over technology companies. This is the same group that stirred up such vitriol against FCC Chairman Ajit Pai during the Net Neutrality debate that a bomb threat was called during the commission’s open meeting. Fight for the Future is rolling out similar tactics today by targeting Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s home and children with political attacks. The group’s leader, Evan Greer, has compared Republican and free market opponents of S. 2992 to tiki torch-wielding white supremacists. The loathing of conservatives is palpable.
Republicans need to wake up to the fact that they are being goaded into making beds with their enemies. Bills like Klobuchar’s are designed specifically to empower the FTC and the Department of Justice to punish companies they don’t like. Because the law is written so broadly and uses undefined terminology, companies will have to be extra cautious to stay in the good graces of regulators. And when the agencies are led by progressive ideologues, as they are currently, government-led content moderation decisions will likely make Democrats happy and Republicans angry. Republicans are still reeling from having the wool pulled over their eyes after the CHIPS/Climate bill bait and switch and from the Biden administration sneaking Lina Khan into the FTC Chairman position. As the midterm elections become increasingly competitive, the last thing the GOP should do is help Democrats and their fundraisers notch another falsely-branded “victory.” Instead of doing her bidding, Republicans need to return to what they do best: helping Hillary Clinton lose elections.