Frustrated liberals are looking far and wide across the Internet to find allies in the #resistance, but sadly, this has allowed brands to falsely associate themselves with a left-leaning agenda — a manipulative ploy that aligns them with an ideology their very existence is predicated on fighting. Starbucks, Nordstrom, 84 Lumber, and many other brands have gained social media points for eviscerating Trump online or owning him with emotional, powerful commercials, but in reality the president’s interests are corporate interests.
Donald Trump is about deregulation, union busting, a stagnant minimum wage, and lowering taxes for the rich and powerful. This is also the agenda of numerous American conglomerates. Before you go on a Nordstrom shopping spree or hold up that caramel macchiato as a shining beacon of democracy, let’s look at the facts. Here are the ways companies that publicly align themselves with the resistance actually align ideologically with Donald Trump.
84 Lumber, one of many companies to draw accolades for anti-Trump ads during the Super Bowl, is owned by Trump supporter Maggie Hardy Magerko. Magerko is not only a Trump supporter, but she’s on board with the proposed border wall. She told People Magazine, “We need to keep America safe. America needs to be safe so you and I can have the liberty to talk… The wall, I think it represents, to me, security. I like security.” It makes sense that Magerko would support Trump, as deregulation could help her company put their history of shoddy construction with code violations behind them, or at least keep the company from returning to court. In a trend you’ll see again and again in this article, 84 Labor has also been found guilty of millions of dollars in wage violations. Apparently, they value forgetting to pay their subcontractors as much as Trump does.
In the conservative mind, Starbucks has long been a stand-in for fauxhemian liberal thought. As the stereotype goes, left-leaning folk drink lattes and cappuccinos, while red-blooded conservatives favor gas station coffee. Of course, this distinction is skin-deep. While Starbucks is happy to side with liberals in the culture war, they are a company that pursues conservative ideals relentlessly in their business practices. Never mind that they are historically aggressive in running mom and pop coffee shops out of business. Starbucks, like every other national fast food chain, thrives on suppressing wages and dominating their workers. For the last several years, Starbucks has been under fire for resisting changing labor laws, and the company has received criticism for its notorious scheduling practices, such as the “clopening” shift. The company was also forced to pay $3 million in a 2013 class action settlement on behalf of employees who missed breaks. And, like every other big food conglomerate to spread its tentacles across America, they are viciously anti-union.
Whether or not any McDonald’s employees actually sent out an anti-Trump tweet last week or the company’s account was hacked as they claimed, the golden arches were briefly considered a symbol of resistance. Anyone remotely familiar with McDonald’s business practices knows this couldn’t be further from the truth. Trump and McDonald’s are both against minimum wage increases. In fact, McDonald’s has aggressively threatened to replace workers with self-serve kiosks if they push too hard for equitable pay. The Fight for 15, the nation’s largest labor movement, views McDonald’s as one of their fiercest opponents, and the feeling is mutual. Industry observers expect that Trump’s Department of Labor will be incredibly friendly to McDonald’s in a number of their current disputes with workers, including franchise liability.
Mark Zuckerberg took to his platform to pen an essay in opposition to the Muslim Ban, after Trump’s first attempt at an executive ordered travel ban. Tech companies have long played both sides of the political spectrum, performing #wokeness online while benefiting from conservative labor policies and tax shelters. Facebook has long been one of the most adept at talking out of both sides of the political spectrum. Facebook has long been a partner with the US in various surveillance initiatives, which Trump would like to expand. Like any good Silicon Valley robber baron, Facebook uses an Irish tax shelter to avoid paying much tax in the US. Many have attributed Donald Trump’s win to Facebook’s inability to recognize itself as a media company and start curating the flow of misleading information that cropped up during the campaign.
Many liberals took to Nordstrom Rack for a preppy shopping spree after the brand dropped Ivanka Trump’s clothing line in early February. Like fast food brands, clothing retailers stand to benefit from Trump’s laissez-faire labor policies. In 2014, Nordstrom settled a multi-million dollar suit over unpaid commission. A brutal labor dispute between Nordstrom’s (now defunct) union and the company resulted in millions owed in back pay for unpaid labor. And much like Trump, Nordstrom has a history of dodging their taxes.