Target and Best Buy Money Flows to Dems After Citizen United Backlash

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Target and Best Buy have recently endured withering criticism from liberal activists for indirectly supporting an anti-gay Republican’s gubernatorial campaign. Spurred on by the Citizens United ruling, which opened up elections to unlimited corporate spending, Target, Best Buy, and other companies gave more than $700,000 to Minnesota Forward, a conservative group. Minnesota Forward went on to back GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, a right-wing conservative who once supported a fringe Christian education group that condoned putting gay people to death. That led gay activists and grassroots groups, including MoveOn.org, to threaten to boycott the stores—both of which prided themselves for supporting gay rights. (Target insisted that it supports candidates on both sides of the aisle who agree with their business views.)

Now Minnesota Forward seems to be hedging its bets, endorsing three conservative Democratic candidates for the Minnesota state house. Last week, Minnesota Forward decided to support the three incumbents—Sen. Terri Bonoff, Sen. James Metzen, and Rep. Gene Pelowski—after having previously backed only Republicans.

The new endorsements may take some of the pressure off, but not all of it. Though he’s a Democrat, Pelowski is also a social conservative who, like Emmer, supported an amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. And one of the Democrats that Minnesota Forward endorsed seems wary of the backlash that Target and Best Buy have experienced. While she thanked the group for its endorsement, Bonoff also underscored her support for LGBT rights and her concern about the impact of Citizens United—even though she stands to benefit from it:

I am, however, concerned about the effect of the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, which opened the door to direct corporate spending in political campaigns. This new influx of money, combined with self-financing millionaire candidates, threatens to drown out the voice of the people who are supposed to be deciding our elections.

The Minnesota example shows some of the risks that corporations—and the candidates they support—could run by taking advantage of the campaign finance free-for-all. But while the beneficiaries of the ruling seem to be proceeding with a degree of caution for the time being, it’s still unclear whether they’ll ultimately decide that an activist-led backlash is a small price to pay for the opportunity to have an outsized influence on elections.

(h/t Firedoglake)

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate