Political Intimidation in the Workplace is the New Norm

In the Citizens United States of America, politics has gotten so opaque and so corrupt that behavior that once would have sparked outrage is now viewed as shrewd, “the new norm” if you will.

Last week, In These Times released an exposé of a conference call between the anti-union National Federation of Independent Business and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney wherein the former Massachusetts Governor instructed the “independent” business owners to tell their employees how to vote in the upcoming election.

Barely anyone flinched.

26 minutes into the call, which can be heard below, Mitt Romney states:

I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees.

Days prior, In These Times broke the story of Koch Industries sending pro-Romney mailers to its 45,000 employees along with a note that all but says they may lose their jobs if Obama wins:

While we are typically told before each Presidential election that it is important and historic, I believe the upcoming election will determine what kind of America future generations will inherit.

If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.

Romney’s own support of political intimidation, though, took the narrative to new heights (or, lows, rather). And as controversial as we would like these stories to be, the fact remains that this kind of action is as barely legal as the VHS collection Romney probably had to burn to run for office in the first place. Romney noted this on his conference call when he said,

Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.

There it is. Democracy in its purest form. Tell your kids how to vote instead of how to understand the issues. Don’t bother making an educated decision. Just do as I say. And pass the apple pie!

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