It’s October, and you know what that means: Somewhere, someone is kissing hands and shaking babies. Across North America, people are on the campaign trail trying to get elected. As if I needed proof of this, I have messages on my cell phone from potential mayoral candidates who think nothing of eating up my precious minutes with their hyperbolic claims and accusations. Rob Ford, Josh Matlow, and a number of other political candidates want my vote. They want it so badly that they are willing to completely alienate me in order to promote themselves. My vote will go to whichever candidate has the good taste not to get in my face. Probably Smitherman.
But it’s not just in Toronto. While Rob Ford may be a fat, flatulent, racist, red-faced goon, he has at least demonstrated some competence in the past. There are candidates in the United States that are completely insane. Christine O’Donnell of Delaware springs to mind. She’s an ex-wiccan born again nutjob whose platform seems to openly indicate that she’s against masturbation, which seems counterintuitive given her involvement in American politics. The left also has its share of whackadoos. I refer you to the Rent Is 2 Damn High party’s candidate for New York Governor, Jimmy McMillan, who looks a little like a cross between Hulk Hogan and Isaac Hayes.
For all that the people involved in the process bear watching closely for signs of potential sanity, I am going to get out my soapbox here and suggest that Liberalism is important. There are scads of reasons that I can give you: Universal Healthcare. Environmental Impact. Reasoned Debate. Immigration Policy. The slow death of the middle class. The necessity of solid, sober non-xenophobic policy in a time when the role of America in the world is forced to change by the inevitability of globalization.
But I’m going to give you a reason that no one talks about: Beer.
I’m going to provide you with a link to Wikipedia’s breakdown of Red States and Blue States in the 2008 presidential election, and I want you to take a look at it for a couple of minutes and figure out whether you can see where I’m going with this.
For some reason that I don’t fully understand, there seems to be a correlation between number of microbreweries in a state and the propensity of that state to lean to the left politically. Look at the list of Blue States:
- Massachusetts (D + 26.032) Sam Adams, Harpoon
- Rhode Island (D + 25.708) Some, but it’s a small place.
- New York (D+ 22.966) Too many to name
- Hawaii (D + 21.806) Kona
- Vermont (D + 21.006) Long Trail
- Maryland (D + 16.996) Flying Dog, Clipper City
- Illinois (D + 15.844) Goose Island, Three Floyds (Munster, Indiana is basically a Chicago suburb)
- Connecticut (D + 14.954) ?
- California (D + 14.414) Too many to name
- Delaware (D + 13.814) Dogfish Head
- Maine (D + 12.136) Shipyard
- New Jersey (D + 11.656) ?
- Washington (D + 10.774) Too many to name
- Michigan (D + 9.120) Too many to name
- Minnesota (D + 8.860) Surly
- Oregon (D + 7.798) Too many to name
- Pennsylvania (D + 7.040) Too many to name
- New Mexico (D + 6.056) None that I’ve heard of, but apparently Albuquerque has six.
- Wisconsin (D + 5.838) New Glarus
- Iowa (D + 5.110)
- New Hampshire (D + 4.176) Portsmouth, Red Hook, Smuttynose
It’s clear to me that the best of the American microbrew scene is located squarely in blue states. And they’re not all “flyovers,” either. Colorado swung blue in 2008 and they’ve got a heck of a microbrewing scene there. Now here’s a mental exercise for you. I’m going to provide you with a list of the most Republican leaning states from 2008 and you see if you can name a single microbrewery for each of them.
- Utah (R + 30.768)
- Idaho (R + 27.018)
- Wyoming (R + 26.132)
- Nebraska (R + 22.606)
- Alaska (R + 20.946)
- Oklahoma (R + 20.152)
- Kansas (R + 16.892)
- North Dakota (R + 16.484)
- Alabama (R + 15.162)
- Texas (R + 12.872)
I’m amazed if you can do it without google. I certainly couldn’t and I actually research this stuff.
I don’t believe for a second that this is a cause and effect scenario. The microbreweries have not caused this situation. It’s pretty clear to me that the reasons the famous American microbreweries are in blue states are manifold: Mostly they were settled by people from brewing cultures. The laws about alcohol have always been more lenient. There’s a higher per capita income which results in more interest in premium products. There are more university graduates, so potentially people are more willing to experiment with different tastes.
It’s a ridiculous assertion that drinking good beer will cause liberalism. It’s more likely that liberalism causes educational funding, which allows universities to exist, which causes a certain amount of wealth and sophistication within the population, which allows microbreweries to exist. It’s a lengthy process towards improvement, especially when you can probably just import stuff across state lines.
I guess what I’m saying is that if you like good beer, you should probably continue to vote Democrat in this mid-term election. Even if I’m wrong, you’re going to get universal healthcare out of it. If I’m right, maybe a double IPA.
I will leave you with this thought:
William Jefferson Clinton – Had UBU Ale from the Lake Placid Brewery in New York State delivered to the White House.
Barack Hussein Obama – Bet Stephen Harper a case of Yuengling that his hockey team would win at the Olympics.
George W. Bush – O’Doul’s.