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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Even Wendy’s Dumps ALEC

First McDonalds and now Wendy’s. The downers for the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) keep on coming. Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports that Wendy’s tweeted on Tuesday that “We decided late 2011 and never renewed this year. It didn’t fit our business needs.”
Chalk up an especially-gratifying victory for the progressive coalition that has organized specifically to challenge ALEC’s growing role in state legislative politics across the nation, as Kroll reports:

Wendy’s departure is arguably more significant than McDonald’s given Wendy’s past support for conservative and staunchly pro-industry causes. For instance, Wendy’s International has funded the Center for Consumer Freedom, a phony grassroots group that fights regulation of the food and beverage industries. And Wendy’s political action committee has given significantly more of its money in recent election cycles to Republican lawmakers than Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In response ALEC whined in an official statement about the coalition’s “well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign” and how “We are not and will not be defined by ideological special interests…” blah blah.
Kroll adds that Wendy’s joins McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kraft and Intuit in bailing out from ALEC. The coalition, which includes Common Cause and ColorofChange.org targeted the companies, in part because of ALEC’s support for voter suppression laws and more recently, the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida and other states.
In addition to the good that comes from checking ALEC’s power as an advocate of right-wing legislation, the campaign has another important benefit — demonstrating how progressive organizations can creatively leverage the mere implicit threat of consumer economic withdrawal. These companies clearly feared losing customers as a result of their membership in ALEC and acted accordingly.
As Common Cause President Bob Edgar puts it, “Good corporate managers know that attaching their brand to radical and divisive legislation is not in the best interest of their shareholders…Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we will continue to educate the public about ALEC’s agenda, and highlight the influence of corporate money in our state laws and public policies.”

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