04.28.2021 0

Reclaiming Corporate America from the Woke Mob

The woke left has dominated the corporate policy voting process while conservatives stay home.

By David Potter

American corporations have become extremely woke partly because conservative investors are absent during important shareholder votes. A corporate proxy is an entity who is authorized to vote on behalf of another party who is not present. This typically is a company hired by an investment firm to outsource the policy voting process for clients. Corporate management wants ownership interests fully represented, so they allow for proxy votes, but proxies have failed to represent the values of conservative shareholders. In other situations, conservatives are eligible to vote proxy themselves by mail or online, but they throw away their paper voting cards or ignore their email.

The Free Enterprise Project (FEP) from the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) has released their 2021 Investor Value Voters Guide (IVVG) for conservative and religious investors. According to the FEP Director Justin Danhof, depending on the company, between 10% and 40% of shareholders are not exercising their right to vote. The Center urges right-leaning investors to not give up their proxy votes on important policy issues. “If you want to know how corporations got so unimaginably woke on nearly every single policy issue, look no further than shareholder proposals. The left not only dominates the space by filing more than 95 percent of all policy-based proposals, but its adherents also vote their corporate proxy ballots at dramatically higher numbers than conservatives” said Danhof. The left has effectively weaponized corporate America and passed policies that would have virtually zero chance of becoming law in the legislative branch.

The political environment in general has enabled the leftward push in corporate America. “We explain how the lockdowns, the ‘woke’ movement and the Biden administration have collectively stacked the deck higher than ever against neutral business and sensible center/right concerns in favor of weaponizing the corporate world for the left,” said Shepard. “We also suggest many ways in which shareholders, other stakeholders and the general public can get engaged and work with us to save the American economy and civic society from the ravening left.”
2021 is set to be an incredibly significant year for shareholder engagement because many powerful corporations are embracing critical race theory. The IVVG was created by FEP to assist conservatives in making sound decisions and having their voices heard during this year’s voting process. The 73-page guide lists both general actions that everyone can take, and voting recommendations on several proposals, that would lead to an improved corporate environment by rejecting woke policy. Some of the general actions include: customers objecting in-person, online, and in writing, community activists organizing protests in high profile areas such as annual shareholder meetings, employees resisting corporate racism when possible (including by litigation), insistent investors demanding exchange-traded funds that cater to conservative interests, and constituents demanding legislation at the state level to prevent companies from using their unilateral market power to deny service to customers based on their views.

The left figured out 15-20 years ago that many shareholders were not voting. They also realized that Americans trust CEOs more than they trust government leaders and the media. They are using this trust to their advantage. Much like academia, the left proceeded to march through corporate America by taking over the leadership positions, buying board search firms, and creating diversity boards to serve as proxy for woke worldviews. The direction of corporate America will be determined by those who show up. Conservatives must start showing up. The IVVG from the Freedom Enterprise Project will help teach them how and where.

David Potter is Communications Coordinator for Americans for Limited Government.

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