As in many states, Republicans in Texas are pushing voting law changes. They’ve passed a new bill in the state senate that “would limit early voting hours, prohibit drive-thru voting and bar local election officials from proactively sending vote-by-mail applications.”
Now that Delta has embroiled itself in the controversy of Georgia’s new voting law, former San Antonio Mayor, President Obama’s HUD Secretary, and 2020 Democratic presidential primary contender Julian Castro is calling on Texas-headquartered American Airlines and Southwest Airlines to stake out positions on the law:
At 2am, the Texas Senate advanced one of the most odious voter suppression bills in Texas history.
Georgia’s @Delta spoke out against similar bills. Will @AmericanAir & @SouthwestAir—both huge Texas-based companies—speak out against this blatant voter suppression in our state? https://t.co/00FdYYX4Wb
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 1, 2021
Julian Castro characterizing Delta as having spoken out against the Georgia bill is a bit rich. To be clear, according to Delta’s own telling, they:
- claimed credit for helping to craft the final language
- lobbied on it
- then finally condemned it after it had already passed
There’s something more than a little unseemly about airlines involving themselves in voter laws which determine who is in power, when they are getting those people in power to hand them billions in subsidies. They’re working both sides of the game, and taxpayers lose.
The problem here is that airlines have politicized themselves. They’re even now part-owned by the federal government, having surrendered warrants to the Treasury in exchange for bailouts. They’ve also waged highly visible political campaigns over the last several years to keep competitors out of the U.S. market in order to keep prices high and limit consumer choices (ironically, because they argued that Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways received government subsidies).
Last summer American Airlines CEO Doug Parker even told employees he spends all his time in D.C. lobbying. Having made themselves part of the political process, it’s difficult to extricate themselves.