Why are companies trying to look liberal?

It would be one thing if companies like Delta, Dick’s, Hertz were uniformly liberal institutions. Then it would make sense why they were publicly and loudly signaling their break with the NRA. And it would be another thing if the country were uniformly liberal — then it would make clear economic sense for these companies to signal their liberalism.

What’s weird is why these companies are performing liberalism in a country with a Republican congress, a Republican president, Republican domination of state and local government, etc. Why are big companies (minus Hobby Lobby) taking a stand against the NRA?

Here are all the ideas that I am aware of, either from reading or making things up:

  1. If a company or a brand has a national reach, they want to please their national customer base. Gun control is a nationally popular issue — it’s only the geographic clustering of NRA-types that keeps us from having gun control.
  2. Maybe liberals — because they’re younger — have greater buying power, so companies are more interested in courting them on divisive issues.
  3. Increasingly, liberals are well-educated and those with less education prefer Republicans. So increasingly the decision-making employees of these companies are liberal and therefore seek to make liberal stands.
  4. Douthat’s take: companies want to signal social liberalism to protect themselves from government interference.

I recently saw Josh Barro’s response to Douthat, and Barro seems to prefer a mix of 1 and 2 and 3. I’d love to read more about this, if you have recommendations.

P.S. Is this also how we get awesome movies like Black Panther?