Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the executive director of 2nd Vote, Amy Wilhite to the studio to explain how their site works for consumers that are prepared to consciously shop with companies that reflect their values.
Leahy: We are joined in-studio by Amy Wilhite who is the executive director of 2nd Vote on the web at 2ndVote.com. Amy, tell us about the history of 2nd Vote and what 2nd Vote accomplishes.
Wilhite: Well the first thing let me just tell you a little bit about what 2nd Vote is. Your first vote is at the ballot box usually maybe every couple of years and you’re going to do some kind of voting on political candidates. And we say your second vote is with your wallet. And we are trying to educate consumers to shop their values and to know that when they spend their money, it’s actually going somewhere else afterward. So that is your second vote. And it’s something that you can do every day. And you know, it’s going to be counted right? It’s your money.
Leahy: You can see it going out of the bank account.
Wilhite: That’s exactly right. So the idea started back in 2011 when Dr. David Black, he is the founder of Aegis Sciences Corporation in Nashville and his wife Congressman Diane Back were at the grocery store. They were at the checkout line paying for their groceries and we all get this. You’re there in the checkout line you’re paying and then they say, hey you want to donate a dollar or two dollars or some money to this organization or that.
It’s usually a non-profit obviously. And so, Dr. Black donated. He and Congresswoman Black are very giving and always helping the community but he said sure, I’ll give. And then they were walking out to the parking lot and Congresswoman Black said Dave why’d you do that? And he said why wouldn’t I do that? And she said because March of Dimes funds Planned Parenthood.
And at the time March of Dimes did fund Planned Parenthood. And he had no clue that they did that. And so he thought to himself what else do I not know? So he decided to get some researchers together and started looking behind the scenes at where the money was going. And that is how 2nd Vote was created.
Leahy: I see here on the website at 2ndVote.com, issues we support. Life, First Amendment, Second Amendment, border security, immigration, education, and the environment. These sound like issues that our listeners will care about.
Wilhite: They’re the top issues that most conservatives care about. And the top three are typically life, First Amendment, and the Second Amendment. And so those are the issues that we score. Our researchers will look at an organization. They’ll see where the money is going and they’ll score it based on those issues since those are the most important.
And we score on a base of one to five. One being liberal and two being lean liberal and three is neutral, five being conservative, and then four being lean conservative. And we really want companies to just be neutral and to stay out of the culture wars and know that when you’re going to go buy a cup of coffee that that’s what you’re getting, a good cup of coffee. Your money is not going to something else that you wouldn’t support. When you vote for a political candidate you are voting for that candidate that aligns with your values. So why would you shop somewhere that doesn’t align with your values?
Leahy: So I love this. I just searched for a company known now as Woke-a-Cola. People may recognize it as Coca-Cola. So I did the search and if from a color key of one, liberal to lean liberal, three neutral, four lean conservative, and five conservative, Coca-Cola is one. Liberal. No surprise there. This really great.
Wilhite: It is great because we also have an app. You can go to 2ndVote.com on your browser and your phone and you just add the app to your home screen. It’s not in the App Store and you can search company scores as you are shopping or as you’re out or before you go somewhere. You can just download that on your phone and search pretty much anything.
Leahy: So I go to 2ndVote.com. I go to the top menu. It says take action. And then I can see underneath that you got three choices think, act, shop. Under act there it is. Just like you said. Download the 2nd Vote app. So I think what happens you can go to the grocery store, right? You got your app. And then there’s this product and you have three or four choices, which one of these products aligns with my values.
Wilhite: Well, exactly. A lot of them out there, unfortunately, fall below neutral. And we ask that consumers try to shop for the highest score possible. Neutral again is good. It’s just as good as a 5. We applaud those organizations that are four and five. But neutral is what we’re shooting for. We also have on there when you’re searching a score or brand we usually have better alternatives underneath there. If you keep searching and scrolling on their page, we try to have better alternatives. But sometimes unfortunately there aren’t better alternatives.
Leahy: They are all a bunch of liberals sometimes!
Wilhite: They are and so we then ask to shop for the highest score. And if it’s a one and a two, you know shop a 2, or if it’s a 2 and a 2 point five, shop the two point five.
Leahy: Yeah, that makes sense. You know, I see in one of your recent posts that Dick’s Sporting Goods’ new CEO needs to protect Second Amendment rights. Yeah, that makes an awful lot of sense to me.
Leahy: They were not big supporters of the Second Amendment. They stopped selling guns.
Wilhite: And they named a new CEO. And so in that’s another thing we asked on our take action page on our website. We know there are stores that you like to shop at like Dick’s and Target. A lot of young moms like to shop there. But do you know what they stand for and look at that. If you like to shop there and you don’t like the things that they’re supporting write to them and contact their CEOs and contact their board and say look, we like your store and we want to continue shopping there, but we just can’t do that with a good conscience knowing what you support. And so a lot of our company pages, you can also find the contact page to reach out to those folks.
Leahy: So are you finding when your rating companies since you started 2011, are they leaning more liberal just in the aggregate?
Wilhite: They are. I think you can see that just overall that it used to be a little bit hiding it but now it’s more out in the open and with no apologies for it. It’s right there in your face. I think a lot of these things have been going on that’s going on right now underneath Iit all. We’ve seen it but people are starting to see it more now.
Leahy: What a valuable public resource this is at 2ndVote.com. Big news coming up for you.
Leahy: You are going down to CPAC. Tell us about that.
Wilhite: We’ve been a sponsor of CPAC over the last several years and we were excited that Matt Schlapp sent us an email and wanted us to be a part of the 2nd Vote and speaking there.
Leahy: Now CPAC is the big annual conservative conference. Matt Schlapp is ahead of the American Conservative Union that sponsors it. This year because of the pandemic it’s going to be in Florida not in Washington D.C. because they have all those ridiculous rules in Washington, D.C. So tell us about what you’re going to speak about there, who’s going to speak, and who you’re on the agenda with.
Willhite: We’re we’re going to be speaking Saturday at 2:30 pm ET.
Leahy: This Saturday?
Wilhite: Yes, this Saturday. I guess that’s 1:30 central time. We’re going to be on a panel with Texas Representative Roger Williams and Ohio Representative Warren Davidson. And we’re going to be talking about conservatives and what can they do to make a difference. And 2nd Vote is going to be part of that.
Leahy: Now 2nd Vote is a non-profit. Is it a 501 (c) (3)?
Wilhite: It sure is.
Leahy: And you can go to 2nd Vote. At 2ndVote.com and you can actually make a donation. It’s tax-deductible.
Wilhite: Yes, it is.
Leahy: So my guess is you’re seeing your donations ticking up.
Wilhite: You are exactly right. We’ve seen more folks come on board become members. Giving donations and emailing us asking what can they do and how can they help? Unfortunately, we don’t like to see that because we really wish there was not a need for it. We really wish we didn’t have to do what we do. That means that these organizations wouldn’t be using our money and funneling it to organizations that are attacking our American principles and our traditional values. But it’s out there and we’re here. And yes, we’ve seen that grow immensely over the last couple of months.
Leahy: I love this. Good and bad actors on various issues. You rate all these groups on life, on First Amendment, and on the Second Amendment. Very interesting because if you look at life for instance. Good, Salvation Army. Heritage Foundation. Catholic Charities. Bad. No surprise here, Planned Parenthood, Center for Reproductive Rights, and Susan G. Komen. So very interesting. So will you stick around throughout the rest of the program here?
Wilhite: Yes, Michael. Thanks.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Amy Wilhite” and “2nd Vote” by 2ndVote.com.