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^ banking on LGBT pride — and giving the GOP the forward economic advantage in 2016

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Did you watch Boston’s Pride parade on Saturday ? Or perhaps you marched in it ? Because it was certainly long and loud, thousands of people marching and cheering.

I did watch, on Clarendon Street, and I got the Parade’s big, big point : the huge presence in it or businesses big and small. Banks, biotechnology, technology, and small firms of all kinds, all marching to celebrate LGBT Bostonians.

It’s the same in other Pride Parades. You quickly see that businesses think it good for business to embrace LGBT people in a big, public way. Pride parades might as well be a Chamber of Commerce party.

This may come as a surprise to those who think of big business as the mossbacked Koch Brothers, or as anti-social security Scrooges. They are mistaken. The recent events in indiana, where that state’s business community immediately and crushingly defeated a law that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on “religious freedom” grounds, made clear that the established business community is a powerful, determined friend of LGBT people.

The Indiana battle was decisve for the Republican party. Outside of the South, it showed that the business community will not tolerate, and can and will turn back, attempts to legislate Americans into second class status. When push comes to shove, the party’s religion folks cannot prevail over the interests of inclusion.

Every Republican candidate with any chance of winning the 2016 nomination now sees that point clearly. There will be no repeat of 2012, when the party’s church radicals forced Mitt Romney out of bounds and almost won the nomination. Though the radical church voters still enjoy great strength — and control much of the South (but not all) — the GOP’s future lies not with them but with a welcome to all. And that now includes immigrants, at least by implication : because business interests support mainstreaming every immigtrant of good will, knowing that, like every LGBT person, every immigrant is a customer.

Meanwhile, an intra-party fight equally decisive has just occurred in Washington. I refer to the House Democrats, who last friday sank President Obama’s Trans Pacific trade agreement (“TPP”), and did so by suicidal means, killing a component bill that they once unanimously supported.

In the TPP fight, the House Democrats, unlike the Indiana GOP, surrendered to the party’s most backward interest group, the AFL-CIO. Indiana’s Governor was forced to do the right thing; President Obama was denied the right thing. That is how I see it, but you do not have to agree with my vision to get the underlying point : that even as the Indiana mess wrecked Governor Penmce’s chances of becoming vice president (or higher), so the House’s defeat of the President calls into serious question whether a Democratic President can do what a president needs to do, set the nation’s international order. How can Hillary Clinton do any better on this battlefield than President Obama ? There are plenty of Democrats who underrstand the vital necessity of strong trade agreements — and of financial cionsolisation, the “big banks.” But the TPP vote puts their party into the hands of isolationist, protection-minded associations.

i do not know how Hillary Clinton responds to this. She could be — should be — a most effective, forward-thinking President; but she, like President obama, understands the stakes involved in TPP; stakes that her party has decisively rejected.

thus the opening for Job Bush, above all, a candidate as forward as any on immigration and education and as attuned to trade and business boldness as one would like, as he leads a party commanded by its most advanced segment.

Business in America is adjusting rapidly to the new, transformed world of work. They have to, because it is happening TO them. New businesses, lean and mean, innovators nimble and small, crop up every day to challenge business orthodoxies. Unions should be equally nimble, but for many it is too easy to do just the opposite : protect the jobs we have rather than embrace the jobs that might become. It’s a policy of defeat, because the economies of work and innovation are changing ever faster, no matter what unions may striuggle to do, and it is happening internationally as well, spearheaded by powerful governments that do not have to be delayed, or otherwise hindrered by democratic debate from grabbing economic opportunity wherever and whenever.

We in America do not seem to get this. For example, while the world’s economic tigers are cionsolidating their big banks and establishing their currencies as world reserves, many of our politicians are calling for breaking up the big banks. Do they even know ? Only three of the world’s 20 biggest banks are American — only one of the top ten. Financial power now lies with China, Germany, Japan, Dubai, and even France, which has two banks that are bigger than any american bank. And don’t think size doesn’t matter. The more money that flows through a financial institition, the more the institution gets to decide where it goes to, and by what route and means.

All these things, the business establishment has no choice but to compete with and, hopefully, triumph against. They are right to do so. America must win this fight. We cannot let the Asian Tigers, Arabic merchants, and Germany’s “mittelstand” dominate the world’s new businesses and reserve currency. We must create and foster the new jobs, educate for the new world of work, support its coming to be, forge it into a system, AND finance it.

The business community gets that AND is the nation’s most powerful guarantor of LGBT inclusion. The implications for the 2016 can only be huge.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

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