Today I received a forwarded letter that put a focus on something I have been noticing of late. I was a list of corporations and their political donations intended as a guide for conservative voters. (Just for reference it is posted below the squiggle)
There is no doubt we are seeing a groundswell in this kind of advocacy and just as clearly it can't be a healthy development for mainstream companies concerned for their bottom lines when they are increasingly expected to take sides in the political wars. They can't be overjoyed at the prospect of giving up half of their maketing base after choosing sides knowing that because of the deepening polarization consumers are increasingly making purchasing choices based on political considerations.
I am starting to see hints that maybe the business community is waking up to the fact that the constant strident agit-prop coming out of the conservative echo chamber is not conducive to a healthy business environment. The endless PR dustups, the letter writing campaigns and petition drives, and the boycotts may be finally taking a toll and it might be that big business has had enough. This is my hope anyway.
But I don't have any research or hard evidence, only inklings of a possible sea change in the halls of business so the purpose of this diary is mainly to survey the thinking of other Kossacks, a famously insightful bunch who probably have a better grip on this question that I do. I am wondering if it is possible that the decline we have been witnessing in the influence of the likes of Beck and Limbaugh of late is more than just a result of desultory instances of sponsors canceling support to avoid PR problems. Can we hope it is a more directed effort, political and otherwise, of many businesses to use their influence to see that the rhetoric gets toned down given that they can see obviously that to continue in this direction will create a situation that is ever more dangerous for the future of their bottom-line interests.
Of couse I am not so naive to think that any such considerations will be of importance to such corporate rogues as Monsanto, Archer-Daniels and the Koch brothers as well as many others that don't market directly to the public, but I think most national businesses might tend to view the situation with some measure of alarm when it has deteriorated to the degree that we are even witnessing serious talk of secession in a number of states. One cannot imagine they can see such a depth of animus as a healthy development.
I am putting a poll below to see how many people think there may actually be a movement, or at least an awakening, among mainstream businesses to get the political rhetoric turned down. But I am really more interested in hearing Kossacks thoughts on this idea in the comments section if anyone is so inclined.
The text of the letter was as follows, it is included only as a reference for the curious and is not itself central to the topic of the diary. Of course I cannot vouch for the accuracy of its data:
Goodbye COSTCO - Hello WalMart?
AMERICANS CAN NOW DETERMINE WHERE TO SHOP AND SPEND THEIR MONEY
Election Cycle political donations, as reported by the Center for Responsive Politics:
Price Club/Costco donated $225K, 99% went to Democrats
Rite Aid donated $517K, 60% went to Democrats
Magla Products (Stanley tools, Mr. Clean) donated $22K, 100% went to Democrats
Warnaco (undergarments) donated $55K, 73% went to Democrats
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia donated $153K, 99% went to Democrats
Estee Lauder donated $448K, 95% went to Democrats
Guess, Inc. Donated $145K, 98% went to Democrats
Calvin Klein donated $78K, 100% went to Democrats
Liz Claiborne, Inc. Donated $34K, 97% went to Democrats
Levi Straus donated $26K, 97% went to Democrats
Olan Mills donated $175K, 99% went to Democrats
Wal-Mart donated $467K, 97% went to Republicans
K-Mart donated $524K, 86% went to Republicans
Home Depot donated $298K, 89% went to Republicans
Target donated $226K, 70% went to Republicans
Circuit City Stores donated $261K, 95% went to Republicans
3M Co. Donated $281K, 87% went to Republicans
Hallmark Cards donated $319K, 92% went to Republicans
Amway donated $391K, 100% Republicans
Kohler Co. (plumbing fixtures) donated $283K, 100% Republicans
B.F. Goodrich (tires) donated $215K, 97% went to Republicans
Proctor & Gamble donated $243K, 79% went to Republicans
Southern Wine & Spirits donated $213K, 73% went to Democrats
Joseph E. Seagram's & Sons (incl. Beverage Business and considerable media interests) donated $2M+, 67% went to Democrats
Gallo Winery donated $337K, 95% went to Democrats
Coors & Budweiser donated $174K, 92% went to Republicans
Brown-Forman Corp. (Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Bushmills, Korbel Wines, Lenox China , Dansk and Gorham Silver) donated $644 K -- 80% went to Republicans
Sonic Corporation donated $83K, 98% went to Democrats
Triarc Companies (Arby's, T.J. Cinnamon's, Pasta Connections) donated $112K, 96% went to Democrats
Pilgrim's Pride Corp. (chicken) donated $366K, 100% went to Republicans
Outback Steakhouse donated $641K, 95% went to Republicans
Tricon Global Restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) donated $133K, 87% went to Republicans
Brinker International (Maggiano's, Brinker Cafe, Chili's, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, Crazymel's, Corner Baker, EatZis) donated $242K, 83% went to Republicans
Waffle House donated $279K, 100% went to Republicans
McDonald's Corp. Donated $197K, 86% went to Republicans
Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones, Bahama Breeze) donated $121K, 89% went to Republicans
Heinz Republicans $64,000 Democrats $21,300! John Kerry's wife's company!!!
Traveling and/or dining
Hyatt Corporation donated $187K of which 80% went to Democrats
Marriott International $323K, 81% went to Republicans
Holiday Inns donated $38K, 71% went to Republicans