Are we finally seeing ‘go woke go broke’ become a reality’? Until recently, ‘go woke go broke’ was more like wishful thinking. Post-Covid, from 2020-2022, woke companies such as Disney seemed impervious, but not anymore.
Consider the weak performance of the following large companies, Nike, Disney, Anheuser-Busch Inbev, and Target relative to the S&P 500 over the past six months:
These companies either pushed fat acceptance (such as Nike and Target) or and wokeness. Of course, the aforementioned companies are a long way from going broke, but it shows that they are vulnerable to changing sentiment.
Twitter is far bigger than Fox News ever was in terms of reach and ‘grass roots’ efforts. Now ‘the right’ can beat ‘the left’ at activism, which used to be the left’s major strength.
Almost all the top Twitter accounts with the most engagement are anti-woke. Except for AOC and Hasanabi, the left cannot match the right in terms of engagement and virality. The right has Ben Shapiro, Zuby, Candace Owens, Cernovich, Tim Pool, Jordan Peterson, DeSantis, Donald Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ted Cruz, ‘Clown World’, Joe Rogan, Babylon Bee, Elon Musk, Libs of TikTok, Tucker Carlson, Scott Adams, and many others. These are just mainstream right or center-right people. There is also the center-left and centrists, such as on Substack, who strongly reject wokeness and have huge platforms. Same for podcasting, in which Rogan is the most popular. Or mainstream media, led by Tucker (Tucker’s potential audience online is far greater than being limited to Fox News).
When you got dozens of large accounts boycotting or trashing a brand to a combined hundreds of millions of followers, plus added media coverage, it can affect the bottom line.
However, the big tech companies have not been affected as badly and seem to be doing well, such as Meta. It’s possible consumer discretionary companies are feeling pressure due to inflation, not a Twitter-fueled backlash to wokeness. But otherwise Twitter, led by Elon Musk, played a role in this.
It also shows how much liberal elites errored by letting Elon succeed in buying Twitter, relinquishing what is effectively a major organ of propaganda to someone who is openly and outwardly hostile to wokeness and promotes anti-woke people on his platform. He didn’t even want the site and there would have been no bidding war. Every attempt at creating a successful mainstream alt-tech platform failed, and then Elon took a shortcut and bought Twitter.
Additionally, it also shows how liberal elites are not as good at coordinating as sometimes assumed (Soros, Bill Clinton, Ibram x Kendi, and Bill Gates are not sharing zoom meetings). Just because left-wing elites share a worldview does not mean they are coordinating. Davos meetings are not the same as coordinating, because a lot of the attendance is for signal/status-boosting purposes, not to coordinate.
I think a lot of the apparent success of the left is coasting off the earlier victories of the 20th century than any ability to innovate, coordinate, or adapt to the times. The enormous popularity of anti-woke content shows that there is a market (YouTube disabled visible downvotes because woke and Biden videos were being heavily downvoted). But if the right can coordinate better, that gives it a major advantage and an opening against the left.