One of the most dynamic aspects of the political landscape right now is the political shift of America’s Fortune 500 companies. Historically, large corporations were seen as part and parcel of the American Right, from the Reagan Revolution through the Bush years. Republican politicians promised favorable economic conditions for companies—reducing taxes, eliminating regulations—and, in exchange, corporations were largely supportive of the Right politically.
Not anymore. American companies have secured what they needed from the political Right economically, and now they look to appease, mollify, and appeal to the cultural Left on issues of race, gender, sexuality, and other cultural concerns. This has caused enormous friction and a change in political alliances, with conservatives increasingly pushing against what they see as “woke capital”— private corporations that support left-wing, often radical, cultural change that is at odds with the wishes and values of the American majority.
I recently hosted an X/Twitter Space to discuss this change and how conservatives can restrain left-wing corporate culture through activism, boycotts, legislation, and other methods. The conversation featured social media activist Libs of TikTok, culture writer and former Disney employee Peachy Keenan, and political strategist Matt Knee, who has conducted public opinion research on conservative boycott campaigns.
The following are lightly edited highlights from the Space. Paid subscribers can listen to the full audio here on Substack.
Libs of TikTok on the Bud Light Boycott
Libs of TikTok: I went on Megyn Kelly a couple of months ago. She asked me if I thought that the Bud Light boycott would be successful and I said “no.” And I was wrong—and I’m glad I was wrong because it turned out to be very successful.
It’s interesting why and how Bud Light became the first really successful boycott from the Right. From the very beginning, Dylan Mulvaney started popping up all over TikTok, and it was outrageous. He makes a mockery of women; he walks around with tampons; he dresses up as a little girl. Dylan Mulvaney became the poster boy for the trans agenda. So, when he hooks up with Bud Light for that advertisement, it just spurred the whole thing on.
Why it happened specifically with Bud Light, I think it goes back to how egregious it is and, in general, how we’re all just so sick of what these perverts have been doing for so many years completely unchecked. And then Dylan Mulvaney comes along and we were all really fed up with the trans agenda and the sexualizing of kids. It was a perfect opportunity to focus on the story and blast it. I think what inspired the win was that frustration that we have all been feeling for years that finally came to a boiling point, and then this chance presented itself and we jumped on it.
Peachy Keenan on Working at Disney
Peachy Keenan: I was in the belly of the beast—the unhappiest place on Earth, for someone like me. I was an in-house creative and senior writer at Disney, then an Imagineer, for a total of six years. And this is why I started writing under the pseudonym “Peachy Keenan,” because I was at Disney when I started writing and, if I had expressed my actual opinions, that would’ve been it for me—I would’ve been beheaded. I had four kids. I was the only parent on my team. No one in my office had children. They just don’t understand the customer base. There’s a huge disconnect, which we’re seeing play out now with the movies.
I think it’s really about who is there now, especially at the studios. The main villain in this is the head of Disney live-action films, Sean Bailey, for whom I used to work long ago. He’s the guy who engineered the live-action Little Mermaid. He’s the guy behind the Snow White debacle that we’re seeing—they basically pulled the plug on the new Snow White based on those crazy Antifa dwarves. And I think he’s doing these for his friends in Hollywood. This is the virtue signaling they have to do to stay afloat among their peers and among the other parents at their private schools.
What’s going to happen now? I think that’ll depend on the stock price. Everything they touch now is just so bad, it’s all doctored up by their writing teams who are just the worst possible DEI collection of “creatives.” And so, I think they’re going to continue to slide.
Matt Knee on the “Parallel Economy”
Matt Knee: We have done opinion research on the conservative parallel economy and we found that there is a market for it. We found that among potential Republican primary voters, there were about 20 percent each for “much more likely to buy” and “somewhat more likely to buy” a product that aligned with their values. And it turns out that, demographically, it’s the Millennials and the Gen Xers who are more interested than the older voters in the ideological products, probably because they’re a more “cultural war” kind of demographic.
This is a new thing and some of it is ideological. I think boycotts, for example, are built into the DNA of people whose ideology is all about looking for situations where the power dynamic isn’t what they want it to be and trying to use power to fix it. Obviously, our young people aren’t nearly as aggressive as the Left’s young people, but, nevertheless, we certainly see a bit of a difference between our Boomers and our young people in terms of who’s willing to do this. So, I think it is potentially sustainable, especially with everybody seeing Bud Light as an example of a win.