Progressives determined to break up monopolistic Silicon Valley tech giants have found a powerful ally in the American Principles Project, a right-leaning lobbyist group dedicated, in part, to beefing-up antitrust laws aimed at media monsters such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon over First Amendment issues.
The only catch is that the Virginia-based APP also spends a lot of its considerable money and energy on opposing gay and trans rights.
As Politico reports, APP’s tagline is, “America’s top defender of the family” and it has lobbied to pass laws that ban transgender girls from participating in high school sports and to prevent trans children from receiving any type of gender-affirming care.
While those issues are not necessarily defined only along party lines, APP President Terry Schilling has also called pediatricians who provide gender-affirming care “groomers,” implying that they are pedophiles, and has referred to transgender women as “biological males who believe they are women.”
The group has also labeled the Black Lives Matter movement a “rhetorical Trojan horse” pursuing “an identiarian race-based caste system” for the U.S.
However, it’s not moderate, bruised-purple Democrats who have been finding common ground with Republican would-be trustbusters, but liberals like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and antitrust subcommittee Chairman Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).
It’s an unsavory alliance for some folks on both sides of the aisle.
One senior House Republican aide told the Washington Examiner last month regarding a bipartisan antitrust bill aimed at Big Tech, “The vast majority of House Republicans oppose the far-left Pelosi-Jayapal-Cicilline legislation because it would empower liberal, unaccountable bureaucrats, punish innovation, and do nothing to address the censorship against conservatives.”
Democrats, meanwhile, don’t have the votes in the House to pass antitrust legislation on their own so, as a spokesman for Pelosi said in March, “We plan to do everything we can working across the aisle to get the votes needed to pass this important legislation.”
Matt Stoller, the research director at the anti-monopoly group American Economic Liberties Project, explains that he works regularly with conservative groups like APP because the common enemy is such a remorseless Goliath.
“Consolidated corporate power is the biggest problem that we’re facing right now in our politics,” he tells Politico.
In order to combat the likes of Facebook and the rest of the social media gang, Stoller says factions within both parties that support revamping antitrust laws for the digital age “have to cobble together a majority.”
To that end, APP’s director of policy and government affairs, Jon Schweppe, attends a semi-regular private meeting in which left-leaners from groups like Demand Progress and AELP mix and mingle with Republican activists to coordinate strategy and messaging, and to discuss the progress of antitrust legislation in Congress.
As to which Republicans attend these mixers, Schweppe would not name names to Politico.
For some on the left, such an alliance is untenable because they say the ultimate point of antitrust law is to increase equality and strengthen democracy for everyone.
“It doesn’t make sense to work with someone that doesn’t share our values and doesn’t share our goal,” Jeremie Greer, co-founder and executive director of the economic rights group, Liberation in a Generation, told Politico. “I don’t think we’re fighting for the same thing.”
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