The chair of the California Democratic Party set off a social-media spark yesterday that’s ignited a full campaign urging diners to boycott burger chain In N Out. Eric Bauman tweeted a link to a Los Angeles Magazine story that reveals In N Out donated $25,000 to the California GOP this week, ahead of what’s expected to be a contentious midterm election.
Bauman’s tweet launched the #BoycottInNOut campaign, which has, of course, drawn both support and ire online. Some liberals say that though their love for animal-style fries runs deep, they’ll no longer support the chain because of its political contributions. Conservatives have responded with tweets like this:
Of course American consumers can use their spending power however they see fit and moral. But once we begin to peel back the curtain behind corporate political contributions, we might not be pleased with what we find: Plenty of food and beverage companies donate big bucks to political campaigns or support pro-business candidates. Boston Beer Company, maker of Sam Adams and Angry Orchard products, was back in the news this week after the mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts reignited anger over the brewery owner’s praise for Trump’s tax cuts. White Castle, Dairy Queen, and Wendy’s have also donated overwhelmingly to Republican candidates and political action committees, while Chipotle, Starbucks, and Panera favor Democratic candidates, an Eater analysis shows. If you’re going to research company’s political donations, you might need to make it nearly a full-time job.
This isn’t to say that being a politically conscious consumer ins’t important, just that the companies that become targets of “boycott” campaigns can at times be chosen indiscriminately. And donating to political groups is just one piece of a company’s overall ethic; it would also behoove curious consumers to examine those restaurant groups’ labor practices, positions on social-justice issues, environmental track records, etc. Hope you have some free time on your hands.