2nd Vote (free)
2nd Vote is a clever application. Written by conservatives, the application is designed to inform its users so they can cast a second vote, an economic vote, to reinforce their personal political and social views. The app details the political leanings of major corporations: where they invest and what stands they take, for instance, on same sex partner benefits.
You must sign-up for a free account for the app to work. You may want to read this before you sign-up.
The companies are categorized by industry or by issue. Issues include Second Amendment rights, corporate welfare, environment, gay marriage, and abortion. The app provides a score for each area for each company. If a company doesn’t score well, the app suggests similar companies that might be a better politically aligned alternative. Further, each score is supplemented with additional information, but the source of that information isn’t disclosed.
The app also includes social media for sharing, a link to a map, and an internal voting mechanism so you can say if you support a company or not.
Let’s take a look at Apple. Apple is red, with a 3.7 overall rating. Apple rates a very low 3 on environment, which the app attributes to Apple leaving the “Chamber of Commerce over the opposition to the Chamber’s global warming views.” It does not say if it was the Palo Alto Chamber or the U.S. Chamber. By the way, it was the U.S. Chamber and the issue was the Obama Administration’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases (see WSJ article Exodus: Apple Leaves Chamber of Commerce Over Climate Spat).
Apple gets a 2 in Marriage because they received a 100 from the Human Rights Coalition for their support of the LGBT community. Also stated without documentation, though it is not completely incorrect; Apple received a 100 from the Human Rights Campaign (not Coalition). You can find out more about Apple's human rights rating at the Human Rights Campaign's Buyer's Guide.
Here is how the 2nd Vote website describes their criteria and the scoring:
We base our scoring system on the following information:
- Direct and indirect corporate donations
- Activities and stated policies from these companies
- Documented sponsorships for various political and advocacy-related events
- Corporate leadership donations, activity and advocacy
- Lobbying spent for or against various issues on the federal and state levels
We use this information to score each company on a scale of 1 to 10 on various issues. The scale is calculated as follows:
- Widespread verbal support or funding or logo placement in direct support of a liberal cause, such as pro-abortion groups or gun control groups.
- Donations to groups that promote liberal agendas or give direct support to legislation furthering those agendas.
- Donations to lobbyist groups or third party groups promoting liberal agendas.
- Allow liberal agendas to influence your shopping experience. Examples include discouraging gun possession from all property, offering benefits to shoppers supporting a liberal agenda, or advertisement that targets those supporting a liberal agenda.
- Direct support of liberal causes on company grounds, including restricting employees and customers from carrying guns or offering spousal benefits to same sex partners.
- Absence of support of any liberal agendas.
- Show support of conservative agendas.
- Openly pushed against corporate funding of groups supporting or lobbying for liberal agendas.
- Funding of groups supporting conservative agendas and legislation.
- Funding of multiple conservative groups and promote a conservative agenda in their business platform or company values.
So here’s the interesting thing. This is an app intended to help conservatives vote with the pocketbooks by detailing who and who isn’t supporting the conservative agenda (or the app writer’s version of the conservative agenda). It is however, also an app that could be used by liberals to support the very companies that the conservatives don’t want supported. As television political pundits know all too well, information can be spun by whoever holds it. With 2nd Vote you hold at least one conservative group’s analysis in your hands. You can choose to apply the app's analysis however you like—as the freedom of choice, at least so far, seems still be a universal concept even if its details get challenged now and again by topics like health care and gun ownership.