Tuesday, August 3, 2010

There's a Target and Best Buy boycott?

So says the City Paper. Apparently Target and Best Buy, both of which are based in Minnesota, gave about $250,000 total to a group running commercials for a Republican gubernatorial candidate who opposes same-sex marriage. A boycott began, the Human Rights Campaign, a gay and lesbian advocacy group, criticized the donations, and the City Paper commenters seem pretty angry too.

Target has responded by saying they are only trying to get candidates who support economic development. Both companies gave more money to Republicans than Democrats in the last election cycle, though as some have noted, both also received perfect scores from the HRC on the equality of their workplaces.

My opinion is while I appreciate the stand people are taking, if I boycotted every company that donated money to something I don't agree with, I wouldn't have a lot of places to shop. Most companies (even Wal-mart) donate a lot to both parties, and considering Republicans are generally more pro-business, it stands to reason that they'll get more business contributions. For what it's worth, Starbucks gives much more to Democrats than Republicans.

But my opinion aside, are you going to boycott?


Anonymous said...

"I wouldn't have a lot of places to shop."

Here's the problem right there. Consumerism blows. Other than groceries and clothing, no need to do much shopping anyway. If there is shopping to do, support local businesses or mail order businesses that do the right thing.

It's really not that hard.

Anonymous said...

NO way. Seriously--I'm all about gay rights but at some point this gets ridiculous. Would the boycott be happening against a Democrat that opposed gay marriage? Because such a things does exist people. In fact it was the the Latino and African American Democrat voting popuplation in California that helped defeat the prop to allow for gay marriage. A fact. Human Rights--- go boycott against Darfur .

mocha mayhem said...

A lot of my friends drew my attention to this. Although I wholeheartedly support gay rights, I was really torn. Our CH Target has honored all of its community benefits agreement and provided a lot much needed permanent employment with benefits for local residents. I still shop at my local Target.

Matthew said...

Anonymous - Stop spreading bullshit about Prop 8. The narrative of blacks in Cali being the driving force behind prop 8 was made up by conservative pundits to try and divide the democratic base. Blacks comprised 7% of the prop 8 vote - in what other instance would we blame the results of an election on 7% of the electorate?

lynz0r said...

I'm torn. I just moved here, so I've been making frequent/necessary Target trips. I also just bought a TV from Best Buy.
I think the publicity against Target/Best Buy will be more important than a Boycott and send a stronger message.
If people boycotted Target, what other semi low-cost options/alternatives are there for consumers? I can certianly think of a larger evil (Wal-Mart) that I would rather not spend my hard earned dollars.
Let's also remember that companies can't directly donate to a candidate-- the middleman here is MN Forward, who directly contributed at least a portion (arguably) of Target/Best Buy's donation to Rep. Emmer's endorsement. Now MN Forward claims its non-partisan and their primary agenda is to endorse a pro-business candidate. Unfortunately, in their case, Emmer seems to be their candidate. The CEO of Target/other top executives have also funneled money to other Republicans, substantiating their pro-business stance.
If anything, I hope the mayhem will at least cast Emmer in a bad light.

Anonymous said...

I donated to a candidate that opposed same sex marriage. His name was Barack Obama.

I reject the notion that someone should be reviled for exercising their right to free speech. I know that you don't see the anti-gay marriage point of view as valid from a standpoint of human rights but should we really be seeking to stifle opposing view points. This is what is at the heart of the boycott is it not?

Target did not club baby seals, it supported a candidate that thinks differently about an issue. I also don't know what this guy actually thinks. There is more than one way to think about this issue you know.

DC resident said...

I "boycott" Best Buy because it sucks and I can get everything better and cheaper online. If they don't like the gays, then maybe I'll just rub it in their face even more by going in and playing around with their display models of everything and asking their employees questions without buying anything.

Anonymous said...

"I wouldn't have a lot of places to shop" is a pretty weak stand. Companies like Target shouldn't be trying to buy political campaigns, period, and if more consumers took notice maybe they wouldn't (unless said consumers were moral weaklings like Anonymous).

Anonymous, Target is not a "someone," despite what the Republican-stacked Supreme Court foolishly has said.

VivoEnColumbiaHeights said...

For all those on here who have said Best Buy/Tare are stupid, consumerism sucks, blah, blah, may you never EVER step foot into DC USA again or any of these stores Please do all of us a favor who will continue to shop here--and stay home and do your online shopping/mail order catalog shopping or small business only thing. Stores are crowded enough as it is. Service will improve with less of you haters to compete with. Stay home and shop! And while you are it, since you talk such a big game, give a monthly contribution to the Human Rights Campaign.

Andrew said...

Most recent anon, maybe you're right, and I don't agree with the Citizens United case, but I'm not going to stop shopping until companies stop donating to campaigns.

I don't do a lot of shopping, and I write here all the time about local businesses, but sometimes I need an inexpensive pair of shorts or some detergent, and it's not convenient to go to try to find mom and pop stores to get that stuff when I know I can pick it up at Target.

Knock me if you want for that, but what seems like a knee-jerk boycott due to one donation, when by all accounts Target is a decent corporate citizen, is not something I'm going to support.

Anyway, I don't really appreciate the tone of this argument. If you want to boycott Target and Best Buy, then by all means do so. Calling people who don't agree with you moral weaklings and saying people should just stop being consumers is not really a way to get this worked out.

Anonymous said...

Target is a local business. Sorry.

Jamie said...

"if there is shopping to do, support local businesses or mail order businesses that do the right thing."

What's the right thing, again?

Do you ask your "local business owners" who they voted for, or which political campaigns they donated to, before you shopped there? Why not? Their local political positions probably impact your life far more than Target's.

Oh wait, except that Target gives 5% of it's profit directly back to their communities so, in fact, they do a hell of a lot more for our community than the possible pros or cons from any local business. And they offer benefits to their employees, probably unlike every local business.

This is all so ridiculous. Target is actually a pretty good corporate citizen in the grand scheme of things, and if they weren't here, most of their business would have gone to... Target, or somewhere else, in the suburbs.

Boycott them if it makes you feel better for some reason, but they won't care, really. Boycotts don't work. Google it. Especially ones that most people haven't heard of.

Anonymous said...

Well at least this should put an end to most of the hipster foolishness one hears, that Target is good, while Wal-Mart is bad.

Jamie, your assertion that boycotts don't work is false. Just ask Arizonans what happened when they tried to ban Martin Luther King Day.

Engage in self-serving behavior if you will, but don't try to rationalize it.

Jamie said...

Active boycott list:


I bet you didn't know about 95% of them. Many have been going on for years or decades.

Target isn't on their list which they call the most comprehensive english-language list.

Anyway, enjoy shopping at... well, actually, I'm not sure where you'd go for most of the stuff we get at Target. Probably Virginia.

Enjoy burning lots of BP oil to get to your Target alternative.

Heretical1 said...

This isn't about contributing to a political party, so don't obfuscate the issue. It's about donating to the campaign of a certain MN Republican gubernatorial candidate, Tom Emmer, whose affiliations and associations, if not his platform, are hostile (to say the least) to more than just gay interests. Check out his position on the minimum wage for tipped service workers.

Oh sure, Tommy Boy can walk back a controversial position once the s**t storm flies, just like the best of them. Regardless, he's sent his message to the bigots and the overcompensated corporate gluttons who have jumped on his rhetorical jackwagon; i.e., he's "one of them", and he's going to do their enemies dirt.

Tom Emmer is the incarnation of every backward, myopic and ruinously regressive policy position that embodies our worst impulses; i.e., to mobilize fear and insecurity during times of uncertainty, and to scapegoat, marginalize and demonize those who fail to kowtow to our parochial viewpoints. Tom Emmer does more than merely express and promote a socially and fiscally conservative policy platform. He propagates hate that drips with venom. And those who support him are accessories to the same despicable agenda.

To say that you make campaign donations because you agree with only certain policy postiions, or because you find that certain planks of a candidate's platform tend to favor your narrowly defined interests, is both cynical and disingenuous. Think about it. Do you only elect 25%, 33% or even 50% of a candidate to office?

You may say that my argument is absurd because no candidate will articulate only what any given voter wants to hear, and that therefore, no campaign would be funded if everyone thought like me. That's the false choice. The obvious solution is public campaign financing only, and to put an end to private donations where the policy positions of the wealthy and powerful are disproportionately overrepresented.

And as far as Barack Obama goes, every candidate plays the polls and the focus groups in order to garner the biggest slice of the electoral pie. So far, Obama was and still is the least worst candidate choice (although that will likely change). Can you say the same about Tom Emmer?

Anonymous said...

The point to all of this is the Supreme Court Decision - 5-4 - (the 5 conservative justices against the 4 liberal) that claimed it was a violation of a corporations 1st amendment rights to limit their campaign contributions to political causes. Do you remember "of the people, by the people, and for the people"? Do you think this ruling accurately reflects that? Can a corporation that cannot vote essentially get the biggest impact of all on the outcome of elections (especially primaries which are almost all about who has the most money)? With UNLIMITED corporate money now in play - what do you think political candidates will promise to get those companies to run some ads backing them? And the court specifically did NOT rule on limiting FOREIGN companies from also donating to American politics, likewise with International companies like Target - whose monetary interests in expansion will certainly supersede any loyalty they have to the country in which they were founded. Remember - a corporations first and most significant legal obligation is to make money for it's share-holders. It's against the law for them to do something contrary to that so if it comes down to supporting America or creating more profit overseas - they will be legally bound to serve money over country.

BJ said...

Wal-Mart is hardly politically neutral...


And here's why the Target and Best Buy boycotts aren't going to die or just fade away... The most interesting part is paragraph 12... Best Buy's "Code of Business Ethics"... really?