Recent developments in our corporate sector have shown a tendency for mistakes, even among our country’s presumably most capable CEOs.
First, there was Bud Light and the whole Dylan Mulvaney debacle. According to “Newsweek,” Bud Light has seen product sales decline 29.5% in the most recent week.
Seemingly unable to learn from Anheuser-Busch’s mistakes, Target stepped into the woke marketing fray, partnering with a LGBTQ designer, some of whose products reference Satan (“Satan respects pronouns,” one product says). According to the “New York Post,” this move has cost the retail giant $10 billion in market capitalization.
These miscalculations are indicative of our time, a time which might be called, “Post-democratic America.” And the miscalculations seem to be that the cultural movements afoot in this country represent an organic, majority-driven cultural shift in the country.
At least for now, they don’t.
While it is likely, even probable, that so-called cultural movements in older, Democratic America reflected a majority of people, this is not the case in Post-democratic America, where factions of the coalition running the country do not come from the voters. In a manner reminiscent of European parliamentary systems — where numerous parties vie for elective ruling power, and where no one party is large enough to do so and must form a coalition with another party — the modern Democratic Party is governing through a coalition with the mainstream media and the Department of Justice.
American Democracy is old hat, it seems.
To be sure, the New Coalition isn’t completely free from the old way of doing things. There are still constitutional procedures it can’t escape — negotiating with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans over the debt ceiling is an obvious recent example — but there are other issues where the New Coalition is confidently and effortlessly running the show, moving the country in its desired direction.
This happened when James Clapper lied to Congress about collecting the phone data of millions of Americans, suffering no legal consequences. Or when Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) repeatedly told the country he had evidence of President Trump’s collusion with Russia, a lie exposed by the recent Durham Report, for which there was none of the long-term media backlash that might have happened to a non-member (aka Republican) of the New Coalition.
The Durham Report also showed that both Barack Obama and Joe Biden knew about the phony DOJ maneuvering, the news stories from which then-candidate Biden openly campaigned on and benefited, suggesting possible collusion.
Then there was the famous statement from the 51 former top intelligence officials, claiming the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation, which the mainstream media, fulfilling its role in the New Coalition, was happy to run with, giving candidate Biden yet another talking point and way out of a difficult political situation.
More recently, FBI Director Christopher Wray, to the frustration of his Senate questioners, can be seen dodging and obfuscating when asked about the above issues, even while House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky) is reportedly moving to hold him in contempt of Congress for withholding a bureau record purportedly relating to the Biden family.
These actions suggest a political system in which its main actors, because of unanimity of purpose with its new governing coalition, simply don’t care to lie or dodge or obfuscate in plain sight, because they know it will largely be ignored by others in the New Coalition, implying that they no longer care what a faction from the Old Coalition (namely Republicans and their voters) says or thinks about it.
These new political developments can be problematic for companies such as Target and Anheuser-Busch, who are still thinking under the old system. They believe what prominent leaders say on the news is actually true, and that movements promoted by the media really reflect what a majority of Americans think and feel about a certain issue. But numbers are a stubborn thing. They don’t dodge and weave like FBI Director Wray, and when it turns out that they come up short where sales and market cap are concerned, there isn’t a news organization to give them a contributor’s job to soften their fall. Numbers just are—and companies must suffer the consequences.
“Corporations are acting in response to the broader culture,” “Washington Post” columnist Greg Sargent recently said. “They are making self-interested decisions about how to profit off cultural shifts, and while such decisions do reinforce that evolution, they are a reaction to real, on-the-ground change.”
Sargent is wrong, as the loss of sales and market cap for Anheuser-Busch and Target prove. These movements are not accurately reflective of the broader culture. They are being pushed by members of the New Coalition, as part of their cultural agenda, and companies need to know this.
Because not knowing could be disastrous in Post-democratic America.
Along with his father, Allen Keller runs a lumber business in Stevenson, Alabama. He has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Florida State University and an MBA from University of Virginia. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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