Boycotts are a peaceful means of protest. If enough people get involved, they are effective. But in order to be effective, the people encouraging them need to have a fairly good read on public opinion. Focus groups before boycotting would probably be a good idea. In recent years, we have seen a number of examples of boycotts that failed because the people behind the boycott were not in tune with popular opinion.
Recently boycotts of the sponsors of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham have been attempted. All have failed. Some sponsors left the shows, but generally speaking, new sponsors appeared. A few years ago there was a boycott of Chick-fil-A because its founder supported traditional marriage. That was a massive failure. I drove for an hour to go to a Chick-fil-A during that boycott, and I am sure other people went out of their way to show their support. Anyone is free to boycott anything for any reason. However, it is interesting to me that the boycotts of Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ingraham (and Chick-fil-A) were all attempts to stifle free speech. In a sense, the boycott of In-N-Out is an attempt to intimidate people making political contributions.
As much as I want to see transparency in the money in politics, the boycott of In-N-Out is one reason why releasing the names of donors to political causes might be a really bad idea in today’s political climate. Last week there was an attempted boycott of In-N-Out because they donated money to the California GOP. So how did that go? The American Thinker posted an article today about that boycott.
The article reports:
Ashley Reese of The Slot writes that she’s “never been more insulted by a burger” in her life.
She should have known, she says, that this revelation was coming. After all, she knew that In-N-Out “hid Bible scriptures on their soda cups and burger wrappers,” and that “reeks of GOP.” But what’s perhaps most telling is that her indignation continues even though she is quite aware that the chain also donates to Democrats, including $80K “this election cycle to Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy, a committee focused on electing business-friendly Democrats to the State Legislature.”
In-N-Out quickly addressed the “controversy” in its having donated to Republicans with the following statement: “For years, In-N-Out Burger has supported lawmakers who, regardless of political affiliation, promote policies that strengthen California and allow us to continue operating with the values of providing strong pay and great benefits for our associates.”
To a reasonable observer, that statement suggests balance, not a partisan agenda.
But, Reese whines, “that doesn’t make me feel better, you guys!”
When did Bible verses become insulting? When did Bible verses become associated with one political party? What happened to the fact that our legal system in America is based on the Ten Commandments in the Bible?
The article concludes:
This boycott will be no more successful than the Chick-fil-A boycott, I predict, likely for the same basic reason. As Jaime Regalado, emeritus professor of political science at California State University, Los Angeles describes, “[t]he stomach overrules the mind … a cheap, good-tasting burger is hard to dismiss politically.”
But the premise of left-wing activists for this boycott is even more radical than the boycott of Chick-fil-A, given that In-N-Out’s only crime is that it is beholden to the non-ideological goal of “providing strong pay and great benefits” for its employees and appears to seek bipartisan solutions to attain such progress legislatively. That is, in fact, what many Americans in the political center want.
It’s as if the universe is providing us with yet another metaphor for just how radical and intolerant the left is rapidly becoming, and how leftists would rather scream more loudly into their ideological echo chamber than appeal to anyone outside it.
I don’t want to give the Democrats any worthwhile ideas, but I think they are in need of a good focus group.