Boycotts have long been a way for consumers to voice their discontent.
If money walks, policies or business practices sometimes change.
But would a boycott work against President-elect Donald Trump, who has angered many people by his actions and politics and who has a vast corporate empire that could create conflicts of interest?
There is a growing campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #grabyourwallet to boycott companies that do business with Trump or carry Trump-branded merchandise, including items sold by his daughter Ivanka Trump.
I asked readers to share their thoughts on this financial protest. Here’s what folks had to say, starting with those who support a boycott:
●“Boycotting Trump products by voting with your dollars is a peaceful, effective way for people to demonstrate their democratic views,” one reader wrote. “I hope this social media boycott effort builds momentum as we engage in the holiday shopping season.”
●Debbie Anderson of Summerville, S.C., wrote: “I’m a big believer of letting my dollars do my talking. While I realize my pittance doesn’t make a difference for a huge company, if people band together, we can effect change.”
●“I think the real issue here is the lack of a firewall between Trump’s business and the presidency,” wrote Dina from Philadelphia. “Even if these are the most honest people in the world, the appearance of a conflict of interest can never go away if his children are running his business. Of course they are going to consult their father about business issues. Of course, they will have access to information that the average businessperson will not. As president, can he make any decision without considering the impact to his business? You cannot expect that what is best for Trump Inc. will always be best for America.”
●Judith Dollenmayer of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., wrote: “I think a boycott is entirely justified, at least until we see bright boundaries drawn between his financial affairs and his national duties.”
●Trump “has made it clear that money is the language he speaks and that is where he shall feel our wrath,” wrote Alison Welles of Potomac, Md.
●“I am supporting the boycott of all Trump products partially to exercise my free speech rights,” wrote Katherine Pecka Maulden of Reston, Va. “I choose not to enrich any commercial enterprise associated with the hate-filled Trump philosophy.”
Here are comments from readers opposed to a Trump boycott:
●Jan McCarthy of Keswick, Va., wrote: “I think the attempts to boycott the Trump brand, and anything else these protesters are doing, are pure spite and revenge. I will be contacting these same retailers with my opposing view, and will not buy any products from any of them who capitulate and kowtow to these boycott bullies.”
●“I can understand why people would want to boycott anything connected to Trump products and services,” wrote Stephanie Battles of Mitchellville, Md. “However we must realize that there are unintended consequences. A boycott will harm workers.”
●Leslie Stompor of Naperville, Ill., wrote: “I don’t think it makes sense to boycott stores that carry Trump products. Just don’t buy the Trump stuff, and the stores will stop carrying it all on their own. Vote with your dollar!”
●David Engel of Marshalltown, Iowa, wrote: “I think it is ridiculous to do this. Boycotting his businesses will do nothing to change his mind about his agenda and just looks like sour grapes.”
●“I voted for Hillary and I’m not throwing a fit,” wrote Teresa Woods of Omaha. “Why don’t we support the president-elect to help him become successful instead of working against him? In the long run, we are only hurting our country. Let’s see how he does. If he proves to be unfit for this country, then we can throw our tantrums.”
I’ve waged my own boycotts when I’ve felt aggrieved or objected to the way a company is doing business. I’m just glad that I live in a country where you have the freedom to support or protest a cause so that your voice can be heard.