The progressive action committee MoveOn.org is threatening a national boycott of Target if the retail giant doesn't cease spending money on the Minnesota Governor's race, the group announced on Tuesday.
In an email sent to its members, MoveOn urges recipients to sign a petition alerting Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel that the $150,000 his company has spent on Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer could end up costing him at the register. The petition, which has already received a popular response in Minnesota, was sent to the group's five million members. As of noon on Tuesday, an official with the organization said they had 200,000 signatures
Target has already come under intense scrutiny for the $150,000 it has given to a Minnesota-based group for the ostensible purposes of influencing the governor's race. Not only is it one of the first high-profile companies to take advantage of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling (allowing companies to make unlimited expenditures on political campaigns) it chose, in Emmers, a longstanding opponent of gay rights.
Target has spent over $150,000 in the Minnesota Governor's race backing state Rep. Tom Emmer, a far-right Republican who supports Arizona's draconian immigration law, wants to abolish the minimum wage and even gave money to a fringe group that condoned the execution of gay people.
Target must think customers won't care. They're wrong: We do care, and we need to let them know that we want Target--and all corporations--out of our elections.
Will you send a message to Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel telling him that you're not going to shop at Target unless they stop trying to buy elections?
The protests have, so far, been confined to within Minnesota. But MoveOn is pushing for a much more deafening, national response -- targeting Target on Facebook in addition to an online ad campaign that was also launched on Tuesday.
Because Target is, itself, a trendsetter in the post-Citizens United world, the campaign against them could have a ripple effect throughout the political landscape. Either MoveOn succeeds in discouraging companies from, or giving them pause when, making forays into electoral politics (wary of angering potential customers) or it convinces these same companies that there is a small price to pay for putting money behind candidates.
"Since the Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections, ordinary Americans have been voicing outrage that this tips the scales of democracy even more towards those with power and money," said MoveOn spokesperson Ilyse Hogue. "Target chose to test the waters and the people have spoken: people all over the country will vote with their dollars if Target and other corporations continue to meddle in our elections."