By Rachel del Guidice
Amy Lannom Wilhite is executive director at 2ndVote, which keeps track of major companies’ positions on social issues such as the transgender agenda.
“You wouldn’t support [certain positions] at the ballot box with a candidate that you vote for, so why would you spend your dollars there?” asks Wilhite, who joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to talk about how her organization helps Americans make consumer decisions based on their convictions.
“We say your first vote is at the ballot box and your second vote is with your wallet,” Wilhite says. “It’s the power of what you have in your pocket and with the money that you spend. And we want to educate consumers so that they can shop their values [and] so that we can make change with all the corporate activism that’s going on.”
Rachel del Guidice: I’m joined today on The Daily Signal by Amy Lannom Wilhite. Thank you, Amy, so much for being with us on The Daily Signal.
Amy Lannom Wilhite: Thank you, Rachel.
Del Guidice: Well, you’re at 2ndVote.
Del Guidice: Can you start off just by telling us about your organization, 2ndVote?
Wilhite: Oh, yeah, I’d love to. So, 2ndVote, we say your first vote is at the ballot box and your second vote is with your wallet. It’s the power of what you have in your pocket and with the money that you spend, and we want to educate consumers so that they can shop their value so that we can make change with all the corporate activism that’s going on.
It started back in 2011. Dr. David Black, our founder, and [Rep.] Diane Black were shopping at a grocery store. You know, we all do it. We all check out at the end and, typically, they’ll say, “Do you want to donate some money to this organization or that organization?”
So Dr. Black said, “Sure, I’ll donate,” when they ask him, and as they were walking to the parking lot, Congresswoman Black said, “Dave, why did you do that?” And he said, “Why wouldn’t I do that?” And she said, “Because that organization that you just donated to supports Planned Parenthood.”
He thought to himself, “OK, I’m a forensic toxicologist. I do this for a trade and [am] pretty educated. How come I didn’t know that, in an organization that is for children and to help children, and they actually support and align with Planned Parenthood?”
So he ended up looking into it, getting other researchers, and kind of finding out what was behind corporations and decided to put together 2ndVote, and we have been around since 2012. This has been going on for a long time. Corporations have been doing this and supporting leftists and extreme radical left organizations. It’s kind of been quiet.
They’ve been doing it—not now, obviously, they’re unapologetic, but before, you didn’t really know when you would go shopping with your retail dollars or your charitable dollars, or even your invested dollar, that sometimes the monies that you spend will actually go to these radical left organizations.
So, you wouldn’t support that at the ballot box with a candidate that you vote for, so why would you spend your dollars there? So we’ve got over 1,600 companies now researched. You can go to 2ndVote.com and check out different company scores.
We also have an app. On your phone, you can go to 2ndVote.com and add it to your home screen. We’re not in the app store, but you can add it that way.
We score based on one to five, one being the far left and then two being lean left, and then three is neutral, and four is more right or conservative, and then five is more conservative and far right.
We really want companies to be a three. When we start scoring, that’s where they all start out. They all start out as neutral, and then they can go up and down from there.
And while we’re a conservative research group, we applaud those that are on the conservative side, that go that route, but we really want corporations to just be neutral and stay out of the culture wars and quit being so divisive.
Can you imagine the country, what it would be today, if corporations would do that and stay out of the social issues that we have going on right now? That if you go buy a cup of coffee that you know you’re just getting a good cup of coffee.
And we also have said to shop local because when you’re shopping local, the money is staying in your community. Those small local businesses are usually supporting things like your high school choir and your little league, and things like that. They’re not supporting the radical left organizations that are destroying our country and our world we live in today.
I’ve said a lot. I can keep talking about it, but I know you probably have more questions to ask me, but that’s just a little bit of a start of how 2ndVote got going.
Del Guidice: That’s awesome. I actually wanted to ask you more about, and you hit on this with the story at the beginning, but how people aren’t aware of where their dollars are going.
Other than having people research and look into 2ndVote and all the research that they do, how would you encourage people to even talk about these issues of kind of following the money and being aware of where their dollars are going when they donate to someone?
Wilhite: I think we’ve seen the election and 75 million voted for President [Donald] Trump, and they’re so concerned about the issues that are on that side, on the right side.
And the issues that we score on are typically the top issues for conservatives. It’s life, it’s border security and immigration, it’s the Second Amendment, it’s basic freedoms—which involves religious freedom and the First Amendment—and then education and environment. Meaning, when I say environment, it’s meaning too much government regulation. We don’t approve of that, and cap and trade and those kinds of things.
So those are the six issues that we score on that are typically most important to your everyday shoppers. So if you’re going to go pick a candidate that aligns with your values, then you can also go behind the scenes and look at the company scores. Because when I tell you that we have the scores out there, you can actually see behind the issues and behind the score.
We research everything that we do and we cite it. So when you go on the website and when you become a member—so, it’s a free app. Anyone can see our scores and shop with their dollars based on the values with the scores. But you can also see behind the wall, I would say, of where our research is and where it comes from.
We look at 990s, we look at corporate stances, we look at CEOs’ public statements, and so we put that out there for everyone to see so that you can make an informed decision of where to shop.
And we all have money and people now are saying, “What can I do?” You know, “I just live at home, I just do this,” “I’m a mom,” or, “I do that.” Everybody has money, whether it’s a little or a lot, and we spend it somewhere. And so let’s start making better informed decisions so that we can align our dollars with our values.
And not just that. We’re not just a think tank, we’re really more of an action tank. We want people to take action.
We also want people to reach out to these organizations, CEOs, and their board members, and say, “Look, I really like shopping at your store. I like the products that you have. I love the store environment. But you know, if you keep attacking what I believe in, and you keep supporting these radical left things, then I just can’t continue to shop there.”
I think if we can make our voices heard more, then they’ll start listening. The left has been so organized, so together, so loud, and we’re just hard workers. We just want to raise our family and go to church, but it’s time that we raise our voice and it’s time that we actually do something and we can with our money.
Del Guidice: We’re talking here at Resource Bank and you recently spoke on a panel that was called “Mobilizing Customers, Employees, and Shareholders: Freeing the Captured Corporation.” Can you talk about what the capture corporation is?
Wilhite: The capture corporation?
Del Guidice: Yes.
Wilhite: Well, … you’ve got one side with the stockholders and that’s a whole different side of things that I can speak on a little bit in a minute, but it’s the whole thing [of] what the corporations are doing. They’re controlling everything right now, and we have the power to actually do something as well, and if we don’t step in with our money and make those decisions, then the corporations will continue to do what they’ve been doing and what we’re seeing today.
And some of that, politically, with Georgia and some of those laws, you’ve seen the corporations kind of step out and say things, but they also backtracked a little bit because people started speaking out on that. And they also saw that, “OK, maybe I spoke up when things weren’t really accurate.”
So we’ve got to actually step up and let our voices be heard against these corporations that are doing these things.
Another thing that Congresswoman Diane Black and Dr. David Black have done recently is start a for-profit side, it’s called 2ndVote Advisers, and they’ve created some ETFs. So it’s 2ndVoteadvisers.com and it’s on the Chicago board of exchange, so people can invest their money with their values as well.
They’ve got two different ETFs right now. One is LYFE and one is EGIS. … With the LYFE fund, it’s pro-life or neutral on the issue, so you can invest in that fund knowing that your money’s not going to go to anything that’s against life and those kinds of things, or it’s neutral on the issue. And the same way with the EGIS one, which is border security and Second Amendment. It’s either neutral on the issue or it’s pro-legal immigration and pro-Second Amendment and those kinds of things.
So that’s something that I think is very important, and I’m so excited that that was created just within the last year, and I would encourage any of your followers to reach out to 2ndVoteadvisers.com.
Del Guidice: Why is mobilizing so important? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Wilhite: I think it’s important because when we’re just all scattered and we’re all doing our own thing, we don’t get a lot accomplished. So when we’re all on the same page—and I think that here at Resource Bank, [that’s what] we’re all trying to do. We’re all trying to get together and kind of be on the same page.
And the left has been so well-organized, so well-funded, that they’ve been able to do with time here recently and create the progress that they’ve made and it’s time that we get together and all kind of connect and do the same thing on our side, so that we can make a bigger impact.
Del Guidice: You mentioned the situation of Georgia, how the MLB decided to move out of Georgia because of the election integrity law and ended up going to Colorado, which, in fact, their election integrity or their election law there is pretty similar to what is in Georgia right now. Can you give some other examples of how woke culture and how corporations are kind of influencing society right now?
Wilhite: Yeah, I mean, I think you can see that with all the different social media technology that you have going on. Obviously, they have impacted our freedom of speech. And, matter of fact, we’ve done a few things similar to that, where we’ve scored all the different social media outlets.
We did a Black Lives Matter organization guide that you can see on our website, what all corporations have contributed to that organization. We also have a Planned Parenthood guide, so you can see what corporations are donating to Planned Parenthood.
Also, in 2015, 2ndVote started a United Way guide. At the time, we found that over 83 chapters were giving to Planned Parenthood and since we’ve been doing the guide, it’s come down to about 57 chapters.
So we’ve made an impact just by putting them on watch, and I think if we can do that as people, as consumers, if we can let corporations know that they’re on watch, we can actually start making an impact on these companies.
Del Guidice: If you could point out one thing that people could do to counteract these world corporations, what would that one thing be?
Wilhite: First, we always say this, the one thing is shop local. It might cost a dollar or more, but shop local first. And then start searching, just pick one company or one organization that you search with, or that you shop with, check them out on our website, look at all the things that they support, and take a look at that and take notice.
And if you don’t like what you see, and if they don’t score either a three or above, reach out to that CEO, reach out to the board of directors, and let them know that you are no longer going to shop with them if they are going to continue this.
If we do these things every single day, and if 75 million or half of that does something like that, then we can actually start making an impact.
But you can’t just hear, like, Target has done something bad or Starbucks has done [something bad], and you’re just like, “OK, for a week, I’m not going to go.” You’ve got to take action. You’ve got to speak out. You’ve got to tell others about 2ndVote so that people can be aware of where their dollars are going.
Del Guidice: We talked about this before we got started, and you’ve mentioned that something that 2ndVote does is track companies, social issues, positions. Do you all advocate boycotts? And if so, is there an example of a boycott from the right that has been done recently that really has brought about change?
Wilhite: We don’t really advocate boycotts. We really don’t. We want people to shop at the highest score on the 2ndVote scale that you can, that align with your values, and we want you to try to make an impact with reaching out to those organizations. So we don’t necessarily say boycott, but we do want people to make their voices heard and to reach out. That’s what’s been done on the left, and so we’ve just got to do more of that on our side.
But I think just impacting with, like we have done with United Way, and there was another time a few years ago that Macy’s saw that we were doing something with one of the issues that we support, and we put that out there and they stepped back and said, “Hey, we’re no longer going to do that.”
So it’s always good to hear back from corporations. We send them letters and emails to let them know what their score is. First of all, who we are, what we do. We show them their score and we ask them to review it, let us know if there’s anything else that they would like to add, or if there’s something they disagree with, and then about five days later, we post it on our website.
So we always love hearing back from organizations because we know that they care and they’re on the lookout, and we’re starting to hear more and more about that. So we hope we start hearing more and more as time goes on, because that means consumers are actually watching, looking, and connecting with these CEOs and these corporations to make an impact.
Del Guidice: Going back to the discussion over what corporations, there’s a recent poll that came out that said that about 57% to 64% of Americans oppose corporations that weed into political and cultural fights. Is this a growing movement that you’re seeing? Are people, do you think, getting increasingly frustrated by corporations getting so political?
Wilhite: Oh, yeah. I see that every day. I mean, I was at [Conservative Political Action Conference] earlier this year in January, and you could just see that there, and there was a lot of talk there about just all the wokeism going on and people are ready and people want to do something. I’ve been speaking all over since CPAC just on the same subject, because people are wanting to know what they can do.
And some people are coming out that said, “I’ve never been active. I’ve never done anything. This is my first time at an event, or at a conservative group or meeting.” And they just want to know what they can do, and I see that all over.
So, with 2ndVote, this is something you can do every single day. We make it very easy on our website. We even have a way you can click an email at the bottom of a company score that has a “connect with their CEO or their board member,” so it makes it really easy for them to just write a quick email to them.
We also list better alternatives, if there are any. If there are better alternatives, we list those at the website, too, for a company, if it’s a low score. And then we don’t want consumers to feel guilty about shopping somewhere, but we try to say shop the highest score, even if it’s a 2 and there’s another alternative that’s a 2.7, well, go with the one that’s a 2.7 and then do something about it, reach out to that organization. I can’t say it anymore, how we just can’t sit still anymore. We have to make our voices heard.
Del Guidice: What kind of risk does the country run if this isn’t addressed, if people don’t speak out, if they don’t try to reach out and let corporations know that they’re concerned about a stance that they’re taking?
Wilhite: I think we can kind of see the risk and where it’s heading and where it’s going just in the last few months. And if we want to see our country become a socialistic country, then I think that’s one of the biggest risks. I know you and I don’t want to see it that way, but I see that coming, if we don’t start doing something about it.
Del Guidice: Lastly, June is celebrated as Pride Month and there are many, many, many corporations who are releasing rainbow-colored items and events, and for a lot of conservatives, it can seem like corporations are hopelessly liberal. Is there any hope that conservatives and the right can push back on this successfully?
Wilhite: I think there’s always hope. That’s why we do what we do. We don’t want to ever stop. And so I think there is hope, but we just don’t want that issue attacking our First Amendment rights. And when that crosses over, that’s an issue in our religious freedom and those kinds of things, and so we try to spotlight those companies and those organizations that are doing that.
We have a [Human Rights Campaign] guide there on our website that you can take a look at, but I think there’s always hope. That’s why we’re here today. That’s why several hundred people came out to CPAC, and that’s why I’m all over the United States right now talking about 2ndVote, because there is hope. People want to know what they can do, and they want to do something. So I’m optimistic, always. My glass is half full. So there is hope and I’m excited that we can make change.
Del Guidice: Amy, on that hopeful note, thank you for joining us on The Daily Signal. It’s great having you with us.
Wilhite: Thank you so much, Rachel. Appreciate it.
Originally published by The Daily Signal. Republished with permission.