Republicans are taking the idea of “wholesale politics” literally these days.
You may be familiar with “retail politics,” which has traditionally referenced intensely personalized politicking — you know, kissing babies, shaking hands, visiting diners, etc. The idea here is that candidates reach voters in settings that allow them to connect on a one-to-one level, theoretically humanizing the would-be officeholders.
“Wholesale politics” is the opposite approach and involves messaging intended to influence broad swaths of the public.
And these days, Republicans’ obsession with wholesale politics is quite punny — as in, it literally involves attacks on stores and service providers that don’t align with the GOP’s oppressive social agenda.
Think about it.
Conservatives, for example, successfully pressured Target to pull some items from its Pride Month collection following right-wing media coverage and activist outrage — both in Target stores and online — over the retail chain selling transgender-friendly swimsuits.
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” Target said in a statement Tuesday. “Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior.”
Yes, conservatives’ oppressive angst has gotten so granular that specific items in stores — not merely the companies themselves — have come under fire from right-wingers.
And these days, you can essentially make out the Republican Party’s agenda by traveling from aisle to aisle at your local big-box store.
There’s the right’s outrage over Bud Light for its inclusion of a trans person in its advertising.
And there’s the right’s outrage over a Miller Lite ad released during Women's History Month.
Travel to the candy aisle and you’ll find M&M's, which has faced conservative attacks over the company's choice to change its cartoon "spokescandies," leading Fox News firee Tucker Carlson to lament that these changes made the mascots “less sexy.”
Head over to the toy section and you’ll find American Girl dolls, whose parent company has faced attacks from conservatives for selling a book with LGBTQ-inclusive themes, and over false claims that the store in New York City doesn't showcase any white dolls.
My MSNBC colleague Manny Fidel hilariously exposed this claim, spread through conservative media, as a lie.
But in this imagined store of right-wing outrage items, we’re (unfortunately) going to hang around the toy aisle a little longer.
Conservatives have raged against Xbox for introducing environmentally conscious features in some of its gaming systems. And you’ve almost certainly heard about the Republican Party’s crusade against Disney over the company’s expression of support for LGBTQ people as Florida Republicans instituted anti-LGBTQ legislation. Sorry, children of conservative parents, no Disney dolls for you it seems.
The sports aisle is a political minefield for Republicans these days, too. They've attacked various aspects of the National Hockey League, National Football League, National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, the U.S. women’s soccer team, and Major League Baseball for these organizations’ efforts to support or endear themselves to nonwhite people or LGBTQ folks.
If Republicans keep this up, their only choices for food and entertainment will be chicken fajitas at the Mar-a-Lago taco bar. Drink options will be limited. Fortunately for them, their host probably has a few cases of Trump Vodka sitting around.