11/04/2013 12:28 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Shifting Allegiance

It might be time for a rupture of the symbiotic relationship between corporate donors and the Republican Party as currently constituted.

Already, there are incipient signs of the breakup as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce contemplates backing moderate challengers against Tea Party congressional incumbents in Republican primaries.

What prompted this change of heart? The Tea Party's willingness to advance a political agenda by threatening future government shutdowns and default on the national debt. Should these threats ever materialize, they could be devastating for business.

Then there are conservative businessmen who are actively promoting immigration reform and considering withholding campaign contributions to GOP lawmakers determined to stonewall any such legislation.

Why stop there? Shouldn't corporate donors consider shifting donations to Democratic candidates in some instances? Democrats, after all, belong to the party that unequivocally wants to tackle immigration reform and is adverse to any risk of national default.

Environmental concerns provide additional incentives for corporate donors to switch allegiance and form new political alliances. This shift would seem a no-brainer for the insurance industry, which has concluded that global warming is real and contingency plans must be made to mitigate future climate-related damage. Given that mindset, why in the world would insurers want to bankroll the election of Republican global warming deniers of whom there are no shortage?

Anther policy that should spur the flight of corporate donors is Republican advocacy of a devolution of federal environmental laws to the respective states. Some GOP lawmakers even go so far as to urge abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.

What corporate honcho would want to deal with 50 different regulatory regimes? Better to have a national uniform code as a baseline to guide appropriate pollution abatement compliance, an approach right up the Democrats' alley.

Republican lawmakers want to roll back existing environmental regulations that they consider too restrictive on business. Weak regulation invites lax enforcement, which in turn leads to more environmental abuse. Ultimately, the business community will be held responsible for cleaning up the mess at a far greater cost than the expenditures it would take to comply with existing, or even more stringent laws. Furthermore, loose regulation encourages companies to scrimp on upkeep and end up abbreviating the functional life of their facilities and associated employment.

Even in the most conservative of jurisdictions, a reassessment would seem in order. For example, the Utah tourism business lost an estimated 30 million dollars in the recent 16 day federal government closure. Utah incumbent U.S. Senator Mike Lee was instrumental in the costly hiatus and does not exclude the possibility of a repeat performance.

In that case, maybe funding a moderate primary challenger or Democratic opponent to Lee in 2016 would make more sense for the likes of the Utah tourist industry.