Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Does Where You Shop Depend On Where You Stand Politically?

Posted by on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:03 PM
  • 67 Replies

Does Where You Shop Depend On Where You Stand?

A composite image of a Whole Foods in Providence, R.I., and a Cracker Barrel in Springville, Utah.

Steven Senne/AP and/George Frey/Landov

The federal government shutdown is now in its second week, and one big reason for the division in Washington is the growing divide between different kinds of voters back home. Those differences make news on Election Day, but they're visible every day.

Members in both parties find less and less common ground, in part because their constituents have such contrasting notions of government's proper role. And those contrasting visions often coincide with contrasting lifestyles — evident in many of the choices they make.

Political analyst David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report has studied how certain businesses people patronize correlate with political allegiances. He points in particular to Cracker Barrel restaurants and Whole Foods grocery stories.

Most Republican districts are heavily populated with Cracker Barrels. The wraparound porch, abundance of rocking chairs and patriotic paraphernalia offer its patrons a sense of nostalgia and traditional values. Whole Foods, on the other hand, works at being hip and health-conscious and can usually be found in most Democratic districts.

Are these businesses purposely aiming for political targets? They don't have to, Wasserman says. They are choosing store locations based on the prevailing local lifestyle. And Americans are increasingly choosing their own locations with lifestyle in mind. This process, which some have called The Big Sort, can be seen as affecting voting behavior as well.

In 1992, Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton won 60 percent of the counties that had Whole Foods and 40 percent of the counties with Cracker Barrels, leaving a "cultural gap" of 20 percent. But 20 years later, in 2012, President Obama won 77 percent of the Whole Foods counties and just 29 percent of the Cracker Barrels — the gap had widened from 20 to 48 percent.

As this sorting process unfolds, one might expect it to reinforce and intensify the previous voting preferences of these communities and reduce the number of swing districts. And there is mounting evidence this is taking place. From 1992 to 2012, the number of congressional districts won in a landslide by one party's presidential candidate or the other has more than doubled, according to an analysis by Nate Silver in The New York Times last December.

Silver found 117 districts where President Obama did much better than his national victory margin — winning by 20 points or more beyond the 5 points he won by nationwide. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney ran commensurately ahead of his national showing in 125 congressional districts.

Virtually all those 125 landslide Romney districts also elected Republicans to Congress with similarly lopsided margins. That group accounts for just over half the total of GOP seats in the House. Considering their walking-away wins in November 2012, it's easy to see why so few of them worry about losing to a Democrat in November 2014. It's equally apparent why they are far more likely to be worried about a challenger emerging in their next Republican Party primary.

Such challengers usually emerge from the more conservative wing of the party, much as Tea Party activists took on GOP stalwarts in 2010 and 2012. And that is why the strong views of those activists are so carefully respected by the House Republican leaders in the current shutdown confrontation.

Districts that lean heavily left or right are nothing new, of course. After each census, creative and partisan drawing of district lines tends to protect incumbents and thereby reinforce the political divide. But this long-standing practice of gerrymandering districts is far easier when groups of voters are already largely concentrated by race, income and cultural affinities.

National Woman's Party


by on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:03 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:07 PM
5 moms liked this

Ha! I have been to Cracker Barrel more times than Whole Foods. We just got a Whole Foods here and I don't go that much.

Honestly, I prefer local joints over these big chains....shopping the food co-op and eating at our locally owned southern and soul places.

I also prefer to buy my shrimp from the toothless guy at the marina under the highway bridge. 

National Woman's Party


smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:10 PM
3 moms liked this

After each census, creative and partisan drawing of district lines tends to protect incumbents and thereby reinforce the political divide.

My Mom and I were talking about this the other day and it's a big reason why politicians don't try and find a middle ground. They don't have to in order to win their district. 

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:13 PM
1 mom liked this

 I live in the reddest state in the country and we have ZERO Cracker Barrels...I feel robbed.  I like Cracker Barrel!

Honestly, I give more thought to whether products are made in the US than I do poltical affiliations.

OP, you should send your shrimp guy up this direction on occasion.  I would LOVE some fresh shrimp!

 

lga1965
by on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:17 PM

 What if you shop/eat at neither one?  ;)

ndfan
by Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:18 PM
1 mom liked this

I shop at that Whole Foods store lol ! My political beliefs have nothing to do with the fact that I feed my family the healthiest food possible 

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:27 PM
3 moms liked this
Im waaaaaay too cool to shop at whole foods. I shop at farmers market so in yo' face liberals.
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:31 PM
3 moms liked this
Funny thing is that the bridge is two miles from whole foods. WF sells large shrimp from where I do not know for $15 a pound. Guy at the marina took it off the boat an hour ago for $5 a pound with the head off too

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 I live in the reddest state in the country and we have ZERO Cracker Barrels...I feel robbed.  I like Cracker Barrel!


Honestly, I give more thought to whether products are made in the US than I do poltical affiliations.


OP, you should send your shrimp guy up this direction on occasion.  I would LOVE some fresh shrimp!


 

Mommabearbergh
by Gold Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM
There is no Cracker Barrel where I live but there is a hell of a lot whole foods and trader joes. Which makes sense I live in mass.
smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:47 PM
1 mom liked this



Quoting UpSheRises:

Im waaaaaay too cool to shop at whole foods. I shop at farmers market so in yo' face liberals.

I live on a homestead. Does that make me even cooler? :)


Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:50 PM
1 mom liked this
I'm as lefties as they come and I can't stand whole foods. It's over priced food aimed at people who think its healthier. It's silly. I have a whole foods literally in my backyard but I shop the local grocery. I can get whole foods there.

Quoting UpSheRises:

Im waaaaaay too cool to shop at whole foods. I shop at farmers market so in yo' face liberals.
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)