Cardinal preferences explain why all institutions are woke, writes Richard Hanania.
In a democracy, every vote is supposed to be equal. If about half the country supports one side and half the country supports another, you may expect major institutions to either be equally divided, or to try to stay politically neutral.
This is not what we find. If it takes a position on the hot button social issues around which our politics revolve, almost every major institution in America that is not explicitly conservative leans left. In a country where Republicans get around half the votes or something close to that in every election, why should this be the case?
This post started as an investigation into Woke Capital, one of the most important developments in the last decade or so of American politics. Although big business pressuring politicians is not new (the NFL moved the Super Bowl from Arizona over MLK day), the scope of the issues on which corporations feel the need to weigh in is certainly expanding, now including LGBT issues, abortion laws, voting rights, kneeling during the national anthem, and gun control.
Conservatives have taken notice. JD Vance appears ready to run for Senate, and it seems like opposing corporate power is going to be a major part of his political identity. Josh Hawley regularly introduces bills to harm this or that industry, often based on some position it has taken that he doesn’t like. We shouldn’t exaggerate the realignment too much; last time Republicans had control of government, their major legislative achievement was a corporate tax cut. Nonetheless, regardless of whether politicians are serious about doing something about Woke Capital, the phenomenon is interesting in and of itself for what it tells us about the nature of institutions in American society, and where our culture and politics are going.