I have to admit, I’m a bit of a political junkie, exponentially more so in a presidential election year. I tend to surf non-partisan blogs, primarily because the reader is spared the vitriolic, substance-free posturing that online blowhards on either end of the ideological spectrum are known for, in favor of something that resembles analysis. Granted, that analysis isn’t always related to the weightiest of topics; sometimes it’s just an engaging diversion. Especially when it’s about beverages.
In a recent blog post titled “Beer and the Presidency,” Electoral-Vote.com, “The Votemaster” referenced a recent news story about what type of beer President Obama had at a campaign stop in that Swing State of Swing States, Ohio. Obama’s choice of a Miller Lite followed by a Bud Light apparently spoke to the President’s desire to connect with white, working-class voters. The blogger asked, “Aren’t there more important things to discuss? For example, the fact that Bud Light is made by a Belgian company…and that Miller Lite is half Canadian?”
Well, if we’re going to follow that line of logic, that pretty much means drinking a Corona in an effort to connect with Mexican-American voters is pretty much an exercise in futility now that the aforementioned Belgian company is buying Modelo—of which it already owned a sizeable stake. (By the way, the blogger notes that Romney is spared such beer-centric scrutiny, as his religious convictions prevent him from consuming alcohol. However the piece does note that when offered a beer, the former Massachusetts governor “can politely decline and ask for orange juice instead,” which, of course plays well in that other critical Swing State, Florida).
I think the much larger point that’s being missed in both the conventional media and the blogosphere is that what happens in the U.S. has become increasingly more dependent on what’s going on abroad. And the beverage market is like one colossal case study of the interconnected worldwide economy in action.
That Bud Light got in POTUS’s hand through a complex chain of custody that started with boardroom decisions in Europe, Brazil and the U.S. (as AB InBev now has a U.S. base of ops in New York City), continued with the efforts of a distributor in Ohio and culminated with the sale by a local retailer to which every unpaid campaign intern was tasked with procuring beer.
A candidate could even play the hyper-local card and drink a regional craft beer. But even then, the package or serving vessel it’s in could be from a European bottle or glassware maker. It could be hopped with varietals native to the U.K., Germany or the Czech Republic.
And why has the U.S. stock market been a bit of a roller coaster ride for much of the summer? Investors have been closely watching and reacting to every economic nugget coming out of the E.U. The term “global economy” has become something of a cliché, it’s been referenced so much. But that global-ness is likely to have a greater impact on the upcoming election than whatever Obama or Mitt Romney may or may not be drinking on any given day.