San Francisco’s Red State Boycott Backfires Spectacularly

AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Flanigan

In one of the most ironic leftist self-owns in recent memory, the city of San Francisco indicated that it could soon repeal the 2016 ordinance that banned city-funded travel to and contracting with red states. These reports are the latest sign that woke fanaticism does not come without great financial, corporate, and cultural risk—and that more often than not, progressive cultural aggression ends up hurting themselves most of all.

The San Francisco ordinance, titled Chapter 12X, was enacted in the months following the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision—which prohibited states from defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman—and was, according to Fox News, largely perceived as “a boycott to pressure other states and prevent the city from engaging in business with those whose values it deemed antithetical to its own.”

The law initially prohibited city-sponsored travel and contracting with eight conservative states, but has since been amended to include 30 states that have enacted laws upholding the sanctity of life, protection of the traditional family structure, and election integrity.

Yet, as a February report from the San Francisco City Administrator’s office reveals, this strategy is backfiring in spectacular ways.

The ordinance’s prohibition on contracting with red states has raised city-wide contracting costs by a whopping 10 to 20 percent and could grow higher if this ordinance is not repealed, according to the report. Thus, the virtue-signaling decree appears to have succeeded only in harming San Franciscans.

To offset these damages, the report proposes a range of options—including a repeal of the entire ordinance. “It’s an ineffective policy that complicates the business of San Francisco government and makes it very likely that we pay more than we should for goods and services,” said city official Rafael Mandelmanm.

But San Francisco’s Chapter 12X is far from the only instance of performative progressivism that has ended in disaster for the left. The entire state of California has imposed a “prohibition on state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states with discriminatory laws.”

The ban affects 23 conservative states, but was ignored by California Governor Gavin Newsom when he visited his in-laws’ ranch in Montana—a state included in the ban.

Woke companies have also found that their “boycotts” of conservative states have often hurt the companies themselves more than their intended targets. In 2019, for example, Netflix and the Walt Disney Company threatened to stop doing business in Georgia following the Peach State’s enactment of House Bill 481, which banned abortions in the state after six weeks.

But in the end, the proposed boycott likely would have helped the Georgia economy, while costing Netflix and Disney millions through losing lucrative tax incentives. “The irony of the situation is that the filming ban,” said Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of the Holy Cross, “will probably actually save the Georgia government more money than the loss of the film revenue will cost them.”

He continued: “The same was true for the NCAA bans on championships in North Carolina and other states in the wake of Confederate flag controversies and [pro-family] legislation. The sports and film industries have done such a good job exaggerating their economic impacts that boycotts become effective symbolic tools even though they have almost no real impact.”

Could one possibly ask for a better distillation of American leftism?

For years, the left has made its mark on American culture in large part through performative sloganeering, hollow virtue-signaling, and meaningless boycotts that have done very little—if anything at all—to advance their causes. And although the city of San Francisco has not yet made a final determination on the fate of its boycotting ordinance, conservatives can surely relish in the fact that—just that like so many other left-wing ploys—Chapter 12X has succeeded primarily in punishing the malicious and totalitarian left-wing spirit that inspired it.

But above all, these reports prove that—no matter how much California liberals may resent it—in the end, they cannot live without red state America.

Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.

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