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I attended a rare meeting of Republicans in San Francisco last week at the Reboot conference, a moderate-size gathering of tech-savvy conservatives. It was easy to spot which attendees were walking into the hotel for the conference, because they were the only ones sporting business suits.
As is typical for tech conferences in the Bay Area, there was an alley of tables showcasing the latest tech products. One of the few on display, social conservative shopping app, 2ndVote, helps die hard traditionalist support the companies that uphold their values.
Their scorecard evaluates companies on their lobbying and charitable expenditures on gun policy, women’s rights, environment, marriage equality, and corporate welfare.
For instance, staunch anti-gay rights server of delicious chicken, Chick-fil-A, scores a near perfect five out of five on 2ndVote’s scorecard. And, true to form, when Chick-fil-A was under fire for their political policies, social conservatives rushed to feed their entire families with fried chicken and french fries in public support their beleaguered corporate colleague.
2ndVote also scores Internet companies, but it won’t do much good: they’re all super liberal. The 2ndVote representative told me that he hopes that his score card will help good traditionalists vote with their dollars when they choose tech products, but that hope is in vain.
Google, Twitter, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix all have aggressively fought for gay rights. Many have also supported environmental friendly policies. Co-founder Sergey Brin “helped raise more than $30 million” for cap-and-trade policies, according to the scorecard.
Both eBay and Google have strict (but difficult to enforce) rules about selling and advertising firearms. Most of the major Internet companies are also funders of the liberal think-tank the Center for American Progress.
Now, in truth, when it comes to the business of making money, companies such as Google have recently begun to reach out to conservative groups, such as the Heritage Foundation. Pesky regulators on the Federal Trade Commission are a common enemy of both small-government conservative think-tanks and Internet giants.
The industry’s recent shift into the sharing economy has also ruffled the feathers of labor unions, which may, in the future, bridge a stronger relationship with the Republican party.
But when it comes to traditionalist values and a general support for making the country more environmentally friendly, conservatives have nowhere to boycott. Sure, they could live off the grid, but that’d be the only choice they have.