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Aware it’s losing culture wars, Left tries a new tactic

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference at the office of the Attorney General on July 13, 2022 in New York City. NY AG James announced today that her office has reached a settlement of 0,000 for more than a dozen current and former employees of the Sweet and Vicious, a bar in Manhattan, after a 16-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and wage theft at the establishment.
New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference at the office of the Attorney General on July 13, 2022 in New York City. NY AG James announced today that her office has reached a settlement of 0,000 for more than a dozen current and former employees of the Sweet and Vicious, a bar in Manhattan, after a 16-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and wage theft at the establishment. | Getty Images/Michael M. Santiago

If you can’t get your way through popular opinion, it’s time to use governmental force to intimidate.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is apparently not a fan of Target shifting its position on its “Pride Month” merchandise—which included a “tuck-friendly” swimsuit for men who want to wear women’s suits, an LGBT-themed onesie, and items designed by a company known for its “Satan Respects Pronouns” pin.

In a move that would generally elicit frantic cries about the end of democracy, James, a Democrat, has decided that she and other elected officials, not Target’s customers or employees, should decide the retail giant’s marketing strategy.

“Target’s decision to pull some of its pride merchandise because of backlash from anti-LGBTQ+ customers is wrong,” tweeted James on Wednesday.

“Hatred and bigotry can’t win: New York elected officials and I are urging @Target to reverse its decision and stand up for #LGTBQ+ rights,” she added, saying that she and other elected officials had sent a letter.

@Target's decision to pull some of its pride merchandise because of backlash from anti-LGBTQ+ customers is wrong.

Hatred and bigotry can't win: New York elected officials and I are urging @Target to reverse its decision and stand up for #LGTBQ+ rights.

— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) June 14, 2023

How is this James’ or other New York elected officials’ business?

Before you bring up Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ war with Disney, remember this: Disney started that by speaking out against the Parental Rights in Education bill, legislation that had the audacity to limit what could be said about sexual orientation or gender identity among kids in kindergarten through third grade.

Target, as far as I know, has taken no positions on New York legislation. Nor did James cite any examples in her tweets.

No, this is just straight-up a politician trying to intimidate a private business because that private business isn’t acting the way the politician prefers.

And by using her government Twitter account and citing a letter signed by her and other “elected officials,” James is making no pretense of acting as a private citizen. No, she’s talking as one of the most powerful people in one of the most influential states in the U.S.

She’s also taking a move straight from the playbook of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who tweeted earlier this year that “California won’t be doing business with @walgreens” after Walgreens announced it wouldn’t sell abortifacient drugs in some states.

California won't be doing business with @walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women's lives at risk.

We're done.https://t.co/OB10cYfm8H

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 6, 2023

Three months later, Newsom’s threat appeared to be mostly bluster. California has now reportedly allowed Walgreens to bid for a major contract again. The state also continues to let Medicaid patients use Walgreens. (But don’t think Newsom had a change of heart. Apparently, it’s likely illegal to ban Medicaid patients from Walgreens.)

Walgreens’ move, mind you, came when 21 states’ attorney generals announced they didn’t think it was legal for pharmacy chains to sell abortifacient drugs in their states.

Still, though, Newsom clearly tried to use California’s economic muscle to force pharmacies in red states to uphold blue states’ values.

Again, democracy is not in fashion when it comes to people who don’t hold the “right” views.

That brings us to the real reason James (likely) is taking this completely inappropriate step: The Left is suddenly in real danger of losing the culture war.

Sure, leftists may have forced same-sex marriage on all 50 states in a 2015 Supreme Court decision that went against the votes of 31 states’ residents. Yes, they might be manipulating laws and regulations to promote the trans agenda, even at the expense of women’s safety and privacy. And yes, they may have captured the boardrooms, Big Tech, the universities, Hollywood, and so many more institutions.

But as the Bud Light boycott and the Target backlash shows, people are beginning to wake up — and realize they’re not alone.

In fact, there are a lot of Americans who have an issue with a man who “identifies” as a woman promoting womanhood. There are a lot of Americans who think that they shouldn’t have to explain to their kids when running errands what a “tuck-friendly” swimsuit is. There are a lot of Americans who think that teen girls shouldn’t have to risk their safety and compete against teen boys in girls’ sports, just because the boys want to say they’re now girls.

Bud Light is no longer the top-selling beer in the country. (Congratulations to Modelo Especial, which took the crown.) “Bud Light sales have been roughly 25% lower year-over-year in every single week since it partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney for an Instagram post in early April,” reports CNN. Things are so dire that Bud Light is planning to “provide financial assistance to its wholesalers” and “reimburse fuel for distributors’ trucks,” CNN also reported.

Meanwhile, Target’s stock was at its lowest price in three years Wednesday. It got dinged by Bank of America, which “lowered its price objective from $180 to $145 while saying the reduction is a response to weakened peer multiples, decelerating traffic, and modest mobile app engagement,” reported Fox Business.

Other companies are no doubt taking note.

That’s what leftists like AG James can’t stand.

The Left doesn’t just accept losses. Whether it’s through an activist Supreme Court, lawmaking by bureaucrats, or other moves, the Left is always trying to find some way — no matter how absurdly unconstitutional it is — to get its objectives through.

So, James is trying something new, and effectively saying to Target, “shame if anything happened to that nice business you got.” Even more amazingly, this comes at a time when Target is reportedly getting bomb threats from someone who “accused Target of betraying the LGBTQ+ community,” per The Washington Post.

For once in recent years, the Left is losing a battle in the culture war. But instead of doubling down on their arguments for their views and making the case democratically, they’re resorting to thuggish intimidation.


Originally published at The Daily Signal. 

Katrina Trinko is editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal PodcastSend an email to Katrina.

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