First look: Rubio urges GOP-Big Business divorce

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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will call for Republicans to break up with Big Business when he addresses the National Conservatism Conference on Monday, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Rubio is seeking re-election in one of the most high-profile and expensive races of the 2022 cycle. He’s using this speech to differentiate himself from traditional economic conservatism by branding himself as a leading proponent of the working class.

  • “There would be a lot less craziness in America’s corporations if the people voting their shares were actually firefighters and teachers, rather than their union bosses or Wall Street,” Rubio will say, based on a prepared text of his remarks.
  • “Promising to cut more regulations and corporate taxes will garner the applause of campaign donors and glowing coverage in media outlets focused on the stock market.”
  • “But it leaves millions of hard-working Americans who do not want a ‘woke’ socialist America with no voice in our politics, and no answers to their problems.”

The big picture: Among those vying for Florida’s Democratic Senate nomination is Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.). Should Rubio win re-election next year, his victory and branding would help position him for another potential presidential run in 2024.

  • The speech also provides a glimpse into how some Republicans will approach the midterms and 2024: criticize the Biden administration and the embrace of so-called “Marxist-style” policies by Democrats.
  • The conference in Orlando, Florida, will host other prominent Republicans too.
  • They include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), both potential 2024 presidential candidates, Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance and tech billionaire and GOP booster Peter Thiel.

Details: Rubio’s speech is titled, “We Need Corporate Patriotism to Defeat American Marxism.”

  • He’ll call for a requirement that company boards are committed to U.S. national interest and devoid of conflicts of interest with nations such as China.
  • Rubio will contrast that with what he says are “requirements that companies’ board of directors be sufficiently ‘diverse,’ like what the Biden administration is pushing.”
  • “More challenging,” Rubio is expected to say, “is how to take power away from big institutional shareholders that use regular retirees’ savings to push ‘woke’ policies at corporations by voting in corporate elections on their behalf.”
  • He’ll argue the solution is that institutional shareholders transmit the votes of their clients — like the firefighters and teachers he described — instead of casting votes on their behalf.

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