Bigotry And Business

Every day, I become more convinced that racism is the foundation of MAGA Republicanism. I do give grudging kudos to MAGA’s activism on behalf of its expansive hatreds–all evidence points to the minority status of these angry White Nationalists, but they are unrelenting–and frequently successful– in their efforts to combat any movement toward civility and inclusion.

Most of us are aware of MAGA’s successful efforts last year during Pride month to cow Target for having the temerity to carry Pride merchandise and thus mortally offending the “Christian” warriors. Those pious folks also rose up to attack Bud Light for working with a transgender person. (Somewhere, there must be an office of “watchers” ready to unleash the troops whenever some business has the nerve to market to “undesirable” folks….)

The most recent example of which I’m aware is a business called Tractor Supply.

Tractor Supply (with which I am wholly unfamiliar) sells animal feed, tractor parts and power tools. It has more than 2,230 stores nationwide, and has been recognized for its inclusiveness; Bloomberg praised it for promoting gender equality, while Newsweek called it one of the best U.S. companies for diversity.

Inclusion was evidently the company’s big sin. The haters came out in force.

The company came under scrutiny this month when conservative podcast host Robby Starbuck denounced Tractor Supply’s diversity and climate policies. An employee recently had messaged him to complain that the company was supporting LGBTQ+ groups, Starbuck told The Washington Post.
 
Starbuck visited Tractor Supply weekly to buy provisions for his farm in Franklin, Tenn., he said, but wasn’t comfortable with the company putting money toward inclusion programs.
“Start buying what you can from other places until Tractor Supply makes REAL changes,” he wrote on X on June 6.

Other customers responded to say they would join the boycott, and the company’s share price fell by 5 percent in the past month, according to the Financial Times.

Tractor Supply backed off, announcing that it will end all “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” programs and will no longer support LGBTQ and global warming causes.

That, of course, enraged a different part of the customer base. A number of customers have indicated an intent to stop doing business with Tractor Supply, and several have issued statements indicating disappointment with the company’s willingness to buckle under. As one wrote, “Tractor Supply’s embarrassing capitulation to the petty whims of anti-LGBTQ extremists puts the company out of touch with the vast majority of Americans who support their LGBTQ friends, family, and neighbors.”

Tractor Supply is a predominantly rural enterprise, which means it faces a more formidable challenge than businesses that cater to a largely urban customer base. As a recent study has found, a growing aspect of rural identity has added to America’s political and cultural divide.

Jacobs and Shea pinpoint the 1980s as when this identity began to crystallize. In different regions, cost pressures on family farms and ranches, suburban sprawl, or water inaccessibility squeezed rural communities economically, which coincided with terrible depictions of country life in popular culture. Just as national news outlets emerged through cable and the internet, regional papers closed, and divisive national narratives enveloped local political context. Separate localized identities merged into a national common rural identity

Simultaneously, globalization shuttered small manufacturers central to communities’ economies, so younger generations moved to bigger cities, and social issues and addiction grew. For Cramer, a key component of this rural identity is a resentment from the perception of being overlooked by government. It has furthered party polarization as rural Americans increasingly vote Republican and see the world opposite from group identities associated with Democrats and vice versa. 

Rural America is whiter, older, and more religious than urban America, but the researchers found that–even after controlling for those factors– living in rural America independently added to support for the Republican party. 

One of the most conspicuous aspects of MAGA Republicanism has been the willingness of its adherents to “act out.” In addition to the more-or-less organized bands of truly dangerous crazies like the Proud Boys and other neo-fascist groups,  members of groups like Moms for Liberty and the American Family Association have become increasingly belligerent, increasingly apt to insist that the schools, libraries and businesses they patronize privilege their particular bigotries. They are primarily active in the rural precincts where Republicanism is high and the fact that they don’t represent majority opinion even there is less obvious.

It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the businesses caught in the middle–damned by MAGA if they stick to their purported principles, and shunned by tolerant Americans if they abandon them.

And we wonder why success in retail is so elusive…..

31 Comments

  1. MAGA and the Heritage Foundation claim they’re fighting the “second American Revolution.” In fact, they are preparing for a second Civil War. Never forget that “State’s Rights” is code for white men get to treat other human beings as property.

  2. “…they are unrelenting–and frequently successful– in their efforts to combat any movement toward civility and inclusion.”

    I was listening to David Brooks on the PBS Newshour after the debate. His partner mentioned the lies that t*ump made, and David countered that, to his base, the lies do not matter, because tfg was telling the story that they wanted to hear, and with that remark it all fell into place for me. He gives a clear vision to his people, and as has been written, “without a vision, the people perish”. What is so frightening is how terrifying that vision is, and how many people are willing to believe it.
    What the Dems have failed to do, since the Obama Administration, is to provide a coherent vision that We the People can rally around, and we are running out of time for one to emerge. Apparently it is not enough to be against the fall into fascism today, there needs to be some vision of America that will unite We the People for something.

  3. “I do give grudging kudos to MAGA’s activism on behalf of its expansive hatreds–all evidence points to the minority status of these angry White Nationalists, but they are unrelenting–and frequently successful– in their efforts to combat any movement toward civility and inclusion.”

    The above quote from Sheila is exactly what I have been saying repeatedly; the Republicans are winning because they remain UNITED IN THEIR ULTIMATE GOAL TO WIN. Call it “unrelenting” it is unity; the Democrats are now in the most dangerous state of unrelenting separation and using President Joe Biden’s very poor showing at the “debate” to disunite the party and the voters. Overlooking the the fact that he, in a very quiet and low-key manner, was unrelenting in answering moderator’s questions directly and confronting Trump’s lies and distortions. They are sowing discord with their last minute open disunity with both hands and the media is aiding them by reporting their demands for a new nominee to represent the Democratic party. POLITICAL BIGOTRY which is giving the election to MAGA and Trump. The media is finally giving President Joe Biden free air time which will aid MAGA and Trump who have been provided with years of free campaign air time for spreading their blatant bigotry on all levels.

    “Tractor Supply backed off, announcing that it will end all “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” programs and will no longer support LGBTQ and global warming causes.”

    Trump and MAGA, White Nationalists and the Freedom Caucus have been announcing their lack of support of “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” as their GOP foundation since 2015 when Trump slithered down that escalator with full 24/7 media support.

  4. Give the MAGAs kudos for one more thing: they vote. We’d all better.

  5. Interesting (and Sheila, who is Cramer?). While I understand the progressive forces represented in urban culture versus the more conservative in rural areas, it appears to have been dealt with over the years with debate and compromise in our government. The maga movement, and project 2025, has determined that the rural point of view, which in general embodies White Christian Nationalists, is going to be fought for by our government. If they prevail, it will result in minority rule, which we can see happening already at the state level. No more debate and compromise which has prevailed for most of my lifetime, giving most Americans a good life, with aspirations always at the ready. Now I fear we are headed towards losing many freedoms, and safeguards, and into a country I not only do not want but one which will disappear a hundred years or more of growth, equality and freedom. I really love what we have, with all of its warts, and will vote for whomever the Dems put on the ticket to keep it that way.

  6. In our small community, we have both a Rural King and Tractor Supply. After walking in, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to determine who their target market is. If you observe the shoppers, they’re attracting conservatives. I’ve never seen anything reflecting a pro-DEI corporation at either store. I need help to imagine a TN store supporting DEI programs. How foolish to begin with!

    James writes, “What is so frightening is how terrifying that vision is and how many people are willing to believe it.”

    These people willingly believe that Jesus was a white guy who rose from the dead and lives in Heaven next to God (also a white-bearded guy). They think they will be blessed if they send money to TV evangelists. Therefore, they are easily conned, so folks like Trump tailor their messaging accordingly. He sold them Bibles! LOL

    Also, for James, the Democratic Party’s rallying point should be class warfare. We are in a second Gilded Age, and the disparity between the haves and have-nots is tremendously broad. For 40 years of Neoliberalism and supply-side economics, wealth and income inequality have crushed the middle class. Our economy has focused on the upward redistribution of wealth and income. The question all the people on this forum should be asking is, “Why won’t the Democratic Party talk about class warfare against the elite?

    Obama talked the talk during campaigning but sold out the working class once elected. That populist anger against the government (Obama) helped thrust Donald Trump onto the scene via populism.

    If you remember correctly, the 2016 election was dubbed the year of populism. And who did the DNC nominate (with the help of cheating Bernie Sanders)?

    Hillary Clinton. The absolute epitome of the Washington insider. The WORST choice the DNC ever made until they crapped on Bernie again and Mayor Pete in 2020 for Biden. The DNC serves its wealthy donors, so they can’t connect with the people. They can’t discuss class warfare in the US because it will upset their donors. JB is so far out of touch with the people it’s not even funny!

    Here’s a letter from former Biden employees (12 of them) who comprised a letter to Biden’s administration. They all quit because of Biden’s policies and the handling of Israel and Gaza. It’s extremely concise and well-written:

    https://jointstatement.tiiny.site

  7. The MAGATS benefit tremendously from their ability to overlook little things like facts and their willingness to act as a single entity. They stay together and they make certain that they never directly answer any question posed. They have the message of the day from FAUX News. They always get the message in.

  8. It took you this long to realize the hate of MAGA. It was out in the open years ago.

  9. All that hate and white-supremacy was seething below the surface for a few decades, lulling non-racists into believing that bigotry was “in the past.” Well, Racist-in-Chief Donald Drumpf encouraged the worst of the worst to crawl out from under their racist rocks and wear their red hats loudly and proudly.

    To address the other part of your post, it is sad to see some democrats panic and grasp at imaginary straws at this late date, while republicans, especially MAGATs, keep their focus and rally behind their favorite Orange Convicted Felon.

    Our family is staunchly behind President Biden. No candidate is perfect, and he is decent, effective, and has already done an amazing job. As the Bushes used to say, “Stay the course.”

  10. The birth at the very core of MAGA began with a lie by a father who asked a tenant in one of his commercial office buildings a favor. The tenant was a podiatrist. The father requested that the doctor write a false medical statement that his son had a bone spur so that he would be deferred from military service. It worked. His son joined his father’s lucrative real estate firm that made millions building exclusive condos for segregated white high end wealth patrons. Military service was for suckers and capitalizing on racism was smart business. That son was elected our nation’s commander-in-chief. Any outcome based on lies and victimizing the lowest common denominator will never amount to any good for anyone.

  11. The Christians who do understand the importance of separation of church and state had better start defending it vigorously or nobody will have freedom of religion, not even them!

  12. I live in BFE Michigan. The only thing more common than produce for sale signs is Trump 2024 signs

  13. HCR writes, today, that tfg will not sit for an unstructured interview, as JB just did, yesterday. Not surprised!
    Bigotry has been tfg’s rallying call since the escalator event, and part of his life long before that.

  14. If Joe Biden hadn’t been the first blackwoman to serve with a black president,MAGA wouldn’t hate him so much.

    Hopefully,Biden will get over his cold and his “sinai” will finally be relieved.

    We have crossed the threshold of parody at this point.

  15. James Todd, that was a good point about the insight into MAGAT minds by David Brooks. That “vision” by TFG (in my mind i always read it as “that f**king guy”) is their own story of victimhood and fear of the “other” who, in their minds, will replace them and their way of life. The “us against them” mentality keep them united and motivated.

    So what vision can unite and motivate democrats as a cohesive group? Fear of facism and authoritarian rule? Fear of losing more rights? Or in the other direction, strengthening voting rights, workersʻs rights, equal rights? Raising up the middle class? Making billionaires pay their fair share of taxes? These messages are out there, but perhaps we need to increase our volume and frequency.

  16. Look on the brightside,at least America’s rural settlers are not engaged in a state of ethnic-cleansing.
    Instead,Democratic Party apparatchiks want us to hate them.

    Always punching downward.

    The Democratic Party can never fail. Only people can fail the party.

  17. Growing up in the rural north, I observed and was, therefore, taught a solid national culture. I am proud to be an American. Of course, over the years, I have learned much more as well. An example is how essential collaboration is in getting complex things done. Are those two concepts at odds, mutually exclusive, cognitively dissonant in a migratory world? They are.

    Those thoughts are part of the cultural evolution of humans over the flash of geologic time that my almost 82-year span spans. The species has gone through that much change, and that is a necessary adaptation to our environment as we have changed Earth. Those who accompanied me on my journey have gone through a similar transition, but now we find that not everyone was included in that journey.

    Two tribes exist in the country, but only one is prepared for the inevitably complex future.

  18. Anyone watch “Churchill” Biden last night? All he could talk about was NATO, G20 and Putin, when he was coherent. He is all hubris and so sadly out of touch with his folks in Scranton who see prices rise and the rich/corporate America continue to pay for our political shambles.

  19. Ian,
    The rural settlers are not engaged in apartheid? Or, ethnic cleansing? And where have you been?

    Granted, murder is prevalent across this country because guns make it easy. But in the south, especially certain areas, you better know where you’re going because you’ll never come back. One small example, we were taking pictures of this old country store that was shuttered, and there were signs still hanging from the porch eaves, from the ’20s and 30s.

    This lady pulled up and an old Buick and asked very directly as she was leveling her shotgun, are you Republican or Democrat? Well, we just told her that we are more independent than being a Republican or Democrat. And she looked at us, said, ” All right, ” finish your business and leave!” You get on those switchbacks in the hills, and you are not a particularly welcomed individual, either by party or ethnicity, better not stop, better not break down, even the folks that have been born and raised there for generations will tell you the same thing. Is that apartheid? Is that part of ethnic cleansing? And, It hasn’t gotten any better, because it’s spread out from rural areas into the mainstream.

    The KKK, the Bund, The Knight riders, all steeped in protestantism. Not much different than the Islamic imams, or Orthodox judeo sects. Catholicism is its own sort of self-absorbed hierarchy which apoints 16-year-old video game players as saints, and, claim to tell God The individuals who deserve to be saints! Something that Christ didn’t even do!

    The handwriting on the wall is that, religion as a whole, is going to be reined in by secular governments. Because every single conflict in recorded history has been caused by religious fanaticism. When it gets to that point, there’s going to be a whole lot of screaming and crying about rights and such. When those things actually start, especially as a knee jerk reaction, there’s going to be trouble differentiating who should be on the banned list.

    The expression let sleeping dogs lay, or, Don’t poke the bear! Why? Because if you don’t use the spirit of a sound mind, you’re going to be ripped to shreds. This is what’s going to happen to these Christian soldiers and every other religious militant group.

  20. The Democrats and the mainline protestants have abandoned small town and rural America. I fear Trump and his Hitleresque ilk, but I don’t like the way my Democrat friends talk about people like my cousins as imbeciles and I don’t like the way the Methodists abandoned 20 or so elderly poor people in my aunt’s hometown. When are the Democrats and mainline protestants going to quit treating these people like the are imbeciles or that they don’t exist? Are the Democrats even going to attempt to take back rural Indiana or just throw their hands up in defeat. Showing weakness at a time like this is playing into Trump’s hands.

  21. I would make one observation based on my own experience. Urban and suburban folks are moving to smaller rural towns. And they bring change with them. I can hear the whining and groaning from the town I grew up near, from 6 miles down the road.

  22. Are the people boycotting Tractor Supply the same ones who whined about “cancel culture”?

  23. Nothing changes. Keep the peasants ignorant and superstitious, and they will literally die for you. Sorry, but if they support Trump they are imbeciles. By design.

    I agree with you on this, Todd. The Ds are lost because they’ve lost touch with the Roosevelts. Bust the trusts and help out ordinary folks. Woody Guthrie politics. This is not difficult to understand.

  24. free ink, and endless supply of followers and ad revenue. did i miss something starbuck? TSC is a home town supply. if the farmer is soooo American,why they dont complain about 80% of what they sell is from china,possibly financed by Americans who sought contracts to mfg in cheap, goverment run industries with no chance of the people there changing it. they all see it fit to find cheaper labor. flack,heres another online mongrel making money over substance. the hit to TSC like Bud, now owned by a dutch mega corp, so much for a level playing field. its like BDS and owning a buisness, ya cant boycott either. people are too infuenced by WTFs and really, cheap issues,,,and by what right wing assholes demand. if its fitting the in new 2025 christian maggots review, seems we have little chance of surviving without them. (and i have a solid piece of ground for sale in south florida). im still asking these trumpers in NoDak if they ever heard of 2025,, im past 100 trump lovin magas in the this month. nope. recent conversation with family types in the northeast U.S. assure me, theres still some sanity. they have seen trumpers bail recently,but those maybe the ones who got word of project 2025.
    racism is at a all time high in public here in NoDak. where people from down south have come here for seasonal work, or in the energy sector, they show this comtempt freely. whereas they are embolding the locals here. theres is a minority move to this burg, and i like it. but the locals have a near shit fit with it.

  25. I did not know the story about Tractor Supply until this post. It is a great store designed for urban rural economies such as cottage country here in Ontario. Strong commitment to customer service. The boycott reminds me of a true story set on a nearby lake that had one marina owned by a middle aged couple. Cottagers ferried their own gas to avoid high prices at the Marina. Eventually the Marina closed. Then cottagers realized there was no one to call when their marine equipment malfunctioned or their boat needed a tow. There was a lot more to the realized loss of security living on an island and/or even mainland shorelines. The property owners organized, raised capital, and asked the couple to return and reopened the Marina supported by local investors. Moral of the story? … be careful what you wish for. If Tractor Supply decides they can’t be who they need to be in order to prosper, they will close the store. So where do you go to buy specialized spark plugs for small engines? The church down the road preaching hell and damnation? Roosevelt Thomas wrote a brilliant text published in the 80’s about managing diversity to achieve optimal
    prosperity. He included in his total outlay of what is involved in building a diverse enterprise: “make no announcement”. Just do the right thing, focus on requirements to build prosperity and “bring on your differences”.

  26. Norris – love your closing. Those are the kind of businesses that I go out of my way to support.

  27. With the stronghold of Maga politics/beliefs and exclusivity in rural areas, businesses that offend their values will be targeted by Magas ways and means to uphold their position. It seems in America any business that accepts US currency would be subject to the anti-discrimination laws of the land. Instead, the ways of the old south have resurged in the Maga movement across US; discrimination, segregation, umwege jurisdicial up to the Supreme court have emerged. Some middle-class people(democrats) who have seldom experienced such treatment, are waking up to the realities of the trajectory of Maga.
    Authoritarian Maga presents a unified front and a willingness to follow their crowd and orders to inflict pain on Americans that don’t accept their lies. A unified front is necessary for winning in war and Maga is in war mode.

  28. Emailed tsc told them I just ordered my chicken feed from chewy. It is ironic that one of their brands is ‘pride’. What cowards.

  29. It’s really really hard for me to have sympathy for Rural Americans anymore when they’re MAGA. In the Lion King hypo, they are the foolish hyenas and despite their allegiance to Scar, they’ll starve, too. And I may not care when that happens to them.

  30. John Sorg, for a guy who so easily quotes the bible, I am, pleasantly, surprised by your “The handwriting on the wall is that, religion as a whole, is going to be reined in by secular governments. Because every single conflict in recorded history has been caused by religious fanaticism.”
    I should like to see the reining in.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *