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Boycott paper chain

It is every American's right to make his or her own economic decisions.

Revile Remington Arms, maker of assault rifles? Withhold money from those with whom it does business. Dislike Fox News, CNN or MSNBC? Turn them off; even turn away from advertisers' products if you're so inclined. Hate a New York Times headline? Cancel your subscription if you feel you must, though you'll be mostly be punishing yourself when you miss the paper's great reporting because of a bad editorial decision.

Revile the president whose reelection a New York billionaire is supporting with multi-million-dollar fundraisers? We sympathize. Feel free to boycott businesses Steve Ross and his Related Companies owns: Soul Cycle, Equinox, the Miami Dolphins.

For ostracism enthusiasts, singling out an especially powerful enabler of Donald Trump makes strategic sense. It sends the message that high-profile help for an unstable, dangerous and divisive president may have consequences for the bottom line.

Ross, who released a statement distancing himself from some of Trump's views while embracing his economic agenda, should have known better: This is a package deal. You buy the tax cuts, you get Trump's racist rhetoric and xenophobic policy in the bargain.

Searching for enemies every time you open your wallet, however, is an exhausting, potentially expensive way to live in a nation where 62,979,879 people voted for Trump in 2016, where more than 90,000 individuals have already sent him political donations for 2020, and where a deeply interconnected populace makes countless economic decisions daily based on price, quality and convenience.

Taken to its logical conclusion, it is bound to deepen the cultural and political divides many of Trump's opponents rightly decry.

If Ross doesn't cave and cancel his fundraisers, will hardened Trump foes stop frequenting all businesses renting space in Ross' Hudson Yards, or the Shops at Columbus Circle? That would hurt many ordinary New Yorkers who work there, who are just doing their jobs.

Rep. Joaquin Castro spotlighted the names of 44 of his own constituents who gave the max to Trump this year, including a local realtor and the owner of a barbecue joint. All perfectly legal. But group shaming of small-business owners who donated $2,700 to the president is a path toward endless civic warfare.

Boycotts have a proud American tradition. But those bent on punishing all supporters of a president should be careful about the world they are creating. And if that position isn't strident enough for you, well, feel free to stop buying this newspaper.

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This editorial originally appeared in the New York Daily News. 

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