Americans love a good boycott—whatever their place on the political divide. This week, conservatives began ripping up their socks to protest Nike’s new ad campaign featuring former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Meanwhile, liberals called for a boycott of In-N-Out burger following reports that it had donated $25,000 to California Republicans. The hashtag #BoycottInNOut started trending on Twitter, and Eric Bauman, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, tweeted his support for the boycott with the words, “Et tu In-N-Out?”
Calls for boycotts often make a big media splash. And while studies show they have very little economic impact on the companies they target, boycotts can, and do, put pressure on firms to change the way they operate. That said, people on the right and left should be wary of defaulting to boycotts as their go-to option—lest the boycott lose its power as a tool of political protest.
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