By Recker McDowell —
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is trending as much on Twitter, Facebook and Fox News today as U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and more than anti-Trump. U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
Ducey took Twitter early Tuesday morning, very early, to criticize Nike over it pulling ‘Betsy Ross’ themed sneakers after it heard objections about the colonial flag from Colin Kaepernick.
Nike had just gained approval from the city of Goodyear for a 505-worker, $184.2 million manufacturing plant in the West Valley. That deal comes with a $2 million incentive from the city.
Ducey jumped on the Nike, Betsy Ross flap saying the state would not be also giving any incentives for the plant.
“Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here,” Ducey said in a tweet sent out around 2 a.m.
Ducey’s Twitter take is fodder for conservative media and other critics of Nike and its ties to Kaepernick and his stances on the U.S. flag and National Anthem.
The timing of Ducey’s Nike takedown (early, early morning Arizona time) shows the Arizona governor is eyeing a more national political profile. The move got him on the morning news shows back east and put Ducey in the national media and social media stream.
Ducey also shows some savvy and confidence. Nike is slated to bring 505 jobs, its international brand and $184 million investment to the state. Many lawmakers (local and up the food chain) wouldn’t necessarily take a bold step out and criticize a big company or brand just as they picked their jurisdiction for jobs and investments.
Ducey has hit on a frustration among conservatives over big companies and multinational brands. Companies such as Nike are very progressive with their politics as evidenced by their alliance with Kaepernick and move to nix sneakers with American flags.
Just as President Donald Trump tapped into frustrations with the media and politics, Ducey has picked up on some similar conservative consternations about big companies, their politics and political correctness.
In Republican circles the Nike dustup is political currency for Ducey as he looks at a political future potentially nationally after his second term as governor.
And as we have seen from Trump and Democratic presidential contenders it doesn’t hurt to play to the base.
But Ducey’s move also plays well in proverbial Peoria. Most ‘regular folks’ don’t view Betsy Ross and the American flag she produced in the same narratives as Nike and Kaepernick.
Ducey took the leap, the chance and is tapping into that. We will see where it takes him and how the Nike plant plays out in Goodyear.