Conservative boycotts can work

Boycotts have always tended to be a leftist phenomenon.  They work because the nature of leftism is collectivism — i.e., herd activity — so that individual leftists quickly respond to orders to boycott one company or another.  Conservatives, being independent free thinkers, have yet to master the art of the boycott.  However, as woke corporations ally with the hard-left Biden administration, conservatives are going to have to learn the art of the boycott.  Thankfully, if they're "SMART," they can do it.

If you search for "conservative boycotts" on the internet, you get leftist results like "16 Ridiculous Reasons Why Trump Supporters Have Boycotted Companies," which, if you bother to read it, has disingenuous obfuscations, such as using the word "refugees" in place of "illegal aliens."  You also find another titled "Why half-hearted conservative boycotts rarely take root," which is really a story about some of the silly things Trump may or may not have called for boycotting (I don't know).  And again, you find stories like my favorite titled story, "A brief history of bats--- conservative boycotts," which is both funny and sad.  What conservatives lack in boycotts is clear objectives, staying power, and organization.  This is something that could be remedied quickly if there were a leader or group of leaders whom conservatives respected.

First, let's discuss objectives.  As a business improvement consultant, I use the keyword "SMART" for developing an objective — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound.

"Specific" implies choosing the right target for the right reasons.  For example, I would never choose to boycott a company simply because it supported a particular candidate, but I would choose one that exhibited a specific behavior or value I strongly disagree with.

For example, Major League Baseball is taking action over the Georgia voting law that is actually hurting the 30% minority-owned businesses in Atlanta.  The MLB commissioner lives in New York, which has even stricter voting laws!  That fully justifies a boycott.

"Specific" also implies that we are not targeting too broadly and spreading our impact too thinly to have the desired impact.  If we could get 75 million people to avoid for interfering with Parler customers' free speech, that would send a loud message, too.

Sometimes, being specific means we may have to ignore one badly behaving company, like Facebook, to get maximum boycott effect against another badly behaving company, like Twitter.  The beauty of a single powerful boycott, though, is that if you make a real impact against one company, no one wants to be the next target company, so others will reconsider their behavior.

"Measurable" implies that we can assess the impact on the target of the boycott.  This is straightforward and can be in terms of lost revenue, reduced attendance, numbers of boycotters, etc.  It must hit the bottom line if it is to matter.

"Attainable" means that the overall objective is practical and possible given our resources.  While there are no guarantees with boycotts, having an economic impact on select (i.e., "specific") companies is much more attainable than trying to hit them all.

Choosing the most important issue rather than multiple issues makes it more attainable.  The key to attainability is to assess what can be done, and what the consequent result might look like, and then choosing targets we can impact.

"Relevant" suggests that the target is pertinent to our overall needs.  If our overall goal is ensuring election integrity, maybe we should focus on specific states.  We have more direct influence locally, as opposed to addressing the issue at a national level.

"Timebound" is very important.  We have to make the effort to understand how long it could take to achieve the measurable impact we seek.  This sets expectations, allows us to schedule progress updates, and determine how to stage events to generate and maintain enthusiasm — the staying power we need.  Conversely, it can help us understand when it might be best to cut bait and go home so we can try a different boycott.  Knowing when to quit is important.

Being SMART can get conservatives better organized, with clear objectives, and with the staying power needed to get the job done.  All we need now is trustworthy leadership.

Image: Think economic boycott poster from the 1970s.  Library of Congress.

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