Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has a brilliant idea for getting America back on track toward prosperity: Boycott campaign donations.
Here's hoping that Schultz' boycott plan will be more effective on politicians than years of Starbucks boycotts have been on Schultz.
Schultz toldThe New York Times about his idea last Friday.
In effect, Schultz thinks the country should go on strike against its politicians. "The fundamental problem," he said, "is that the lens through which Congress approaches issues is re-election. The lifeblood of their re-election campaigns is political contributions." Schultz wants his countrymen -- big donors and small; corporations and unions -- to stop making political contributions in presidential and Congressional campaigns. Simple as that.
Schultz' campaign-donation-boycott idea is about as pie-in-the-sky as it gets--though he's right in believing it could work.
Still, an effective boycott of this kind would require people of all political stripes to withhold their cash, all the while ignoring the chance to score big points for one side by suddenly breaking the boycott.
And while it's true that generally speaking, pretty much no one is pleased with the way politicians are governing the country right now, the only thing that people hate more than their own party's representatives are the other party's representatives. So there's no reason to think that anyone is going to hand their enemies a gift by withholding funds from their friends.
Similarly, folks like Jason Reid and Adam Brown of Sonicsgate fame, have made a very visible effort to boycott Schultz' company Starbucks over his role in getting the SuperSonics sent to Oklahoma City in 2008.
In both cases, the people hoping to create change are targeting the pocketbooks of those in power in order to get their way. This is an excellent strategy when a lot of people join the cause--less so when they don't.
And if there's anyone who knows the questionable effectiveness of a boycott, it's Howard Schultz. His own company, after all, is a working example of boycotts not working.