By Doug Porter
A boycott of Ballast Point products is being pushed by groups in Chicago as part of a campaign of resistance to the Trump administration’s hurry-up plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Ballast Point is the largest brewer in San Diego and was acquired by Constellation Brands in November 2015 for a reported of $1 billion. The parent company’s Political Action Committee has donated $25,000 thus far in 2017 in support of Rep. Paul Ryan, who’s leading the congressional fight for passage of what I like to call #TrumpDontCare.
The brewery has reached out via social media as news of the boycott has gone viral, saying “Ballast Point does not support Paul Ryan, nor the healthcare bill.”
While our parent company, Constellation, does have a PAC that contributes to candidates on both sides of the aisle, it does so only in the interest of policy issues directly related to the beverage alcohol industry. The PAC’s primary goal is to educate lawmakers on the benefits of our industry as a whole—creating jobs and contributing to our economy.
That said, Ballast Point has no direct involvement or input into the actions of Constellation’s PAC.
Please know that our only goal as Ballast Point is to brew great beer and provide for our employees and our customers like you.
Follow the Money
While I’m sure they’re horrified in the PR department at Ballast Point, the fact remains that profits from sales of their products fund the corporate executives whose donations make the PAC possible. And yes, the PAC has supported–to a lesser degree–some Democrats.
I’m also sure Constellation will point to the danger posed to profits on their Corona brand by the Trump administration’s threats of import taxes.
Unfortunately for them, import taxes aren’t on the administration’s Congressional ‘do list’ at present. And Paul Ryan, more than anybody else on the Hill, is the leader of a fight for what Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi rightfully calls “Robin Hood in reverse.”
The richest 400 families in America will get a $7 million tax break each year, to the tune of a $2.8 billion break every year. It is $600 billion moving from working class families to the richest families in our country.
After the 1% get their reward, the Medicare Trust Fund will whither, healthcare will be ‘accessible,’ but not affordable, and emergency rooms will be the primary provider for millions of families.
So, I’m sorry, Ballast Point/Constellation, you don’t get to stand by and make excuses. We’re sorry Trump’s Mexico bluster gave you a sad moment and threatens profits. Lives are at stake. You’ve made your choice. It’s Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.
Thursday is Get Rid of the Black Guy’s Legacy Day
Thursday, March 23, is a big day for Rep. Paul Ryan’s ‘new and improved’ healthcare legislation. The House of Representatives will be voting that day on whatever ends up in the revised bill, sans an assessment from the Congressional Budget Office.
On the same day ANSWER Chicago, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana, and Indivisible Illinois are promoting a protest outside the Chicago Club, where Paul Ryan is the guest of honor at a high dollar ($50,000 gets you a photo with the Congressman) fundraiser.
Both these events are scheduled to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Makes you think that “uncertainty” was always a codeword for something else. https://t.co/aoHrzxkcy1
— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) March 20, 2017
We are expecting massive changes to national tax & healthcare systems, but dunno details. Yet CEOs have dropped their “uncertainty” rhetoric
— Dan Primack (@danprimack) March 20, 2017
So what we’re really talking about is a big middle finger aimed at the Black Guy who used to live in the White House.
Why They’re Boycotting
Organizers of the Ballast Point boycott explained their reasoning via a post on Medium.com:
“Voting with your wallet” is very effective. From the Montgomery Bus Boycott of the mid ’50s to the United Farm Workers’ grape boycott against the Delano growers in the late ’60s to the Gay Liberation Movement’s Boycott of Coors Beer in the ’70s (to this day, you still won’t find a gay bar serving Coors!), financial pressure is real pressure, and corporations will do anything to ease the pain.
Ballast Point is an up-and-coming craft beer owned by Constellation Brands, but their profits don’t just go back into the company. Ballast Point’s owners make huge political donations every election. In 2016 alone, Constellation Brands PAC donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaigns and PACs of Paul Ryan, House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy, and many of their Republican colleagues.
Ballast Point’s owners raised more money in 2016 than in any of the past five elections, and they are already gearing up to help Republicans win the crucial 2018 midterms. Constellation Brands PAC is listed as “Vice Chair” of Paul Ryan’s upcoming Chicago fundraiser (when the Speaker of the House hopes to raise $2 million in one night). The invitation to the fundraiser, an event that plans to sell special access to Paul Ryan for $50,000, shows Constellation Brands’ name printed at the top.
Another No-Class Move From Paul Ryan
Arizona spent $3,600,000 drug testing 87,000 welfare recipients. 1 tested positive for a fine of $560. https://t.co/5KlhWEOo70
— Erik Blad (@bladtheimpaler) March 20, 2017
Another one heads to President Trump’s desk. This legislation allows states to have drug testing to receive federal unemployment benefits. pic.twitter.com/cFnvdeQqX1
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 19, 2017
A Supreme Court Filibuster? Don’t Count on It.
Four days of Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch suitability for the Supreme Court began this morning.
I’ve seen several commentaries speculating that Dems have already made a deal not to filibuster in return for a promise from Sen. Mitch McConnell not to exercise the ‘nuclear option,’ a parliamentary procedure allowing the Senate to override a rule or precedent by a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of by a supermajority of 60 votes.
Why the Democratic leadership thinks they could trust the Senate Majority leader on any deal is beyond me.
Progressive groups including NARAL Pro-Choice America, MoveOn.org, Civic Action, Daily Kos, CREDO, Ultraviolet, and Progressive Change Campaign Committee are sending their millions of members emails today to get them to call Senate Democrats and urge them to filibuster Judge Gorsuch.
The White House thinks it has the votes to gain confirmation for their pick.
Here’s a snip from Ilyse G. Hogue’s email to NARAL supporters:
I’m going to be honest with you. I’m very worried about the Supreme Court hearings that start today.
Neil Gorsuch is as extreme a nominee to the highest court as we have seen in a generation. He has consistently ruled on the side of corporations over people, including Hobby Lobby—giving bosses the right to decide our birth control. Donald Trump promised over and over on the campaign trail to nominate justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade and Gorsuch appears to fit the bill. He could enshrine the Trump agenda for at least thirty years.
In spite of this, we’re not hearing from enough of the Democratic Senators that they will fight this nomination with everything they have. We need them to understand that simply stating their opposition to Neil Gorsuch is not enough. We need Senate Democrats to filibuster this nomination and demand a nominee who represents the mainstream values of our country.
They need to hear from you how important this is.
Call your senator right now at 1-844-373-7977 and tell them to vote to block Judge Gorsuch. Tell them a simple “no” vote is not enough. Tell them you are counting on them to filibuster this nomination
Indivisible has issued talking points for people wanting to understand why Gorsuch is a poor choice.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
You can now get the Weekly Progressive Calendar delivered to your inbox every Friday. And it’s Free! Subscribe and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
Subscriptions to the Starting Line (Monday-Thursday) are available:
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.