Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Can Pizza Predict Our Next President?

As I write this blog on the eve of the Super Tuesday presidential primary showdown, I’ve come to the conclusion that pizza and politics go together like The Donald’s skin color and a tube of cheap body bronzer. The correlations are unmistakable. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Trump—OK maybe a little, I think he looks like a giant oompa loompa, sub the crazy comb-over for the cute Prince Valliant. Point is, Trump is cleaning up, so far, in states where his exit-poll-validated “Yuuuge” constituency of alienated voters overcomes his fragmented opposition. I’m sure many of my friends in the pizza business are on board with Mr. Trump, and I get it! There’s a lot to be angry about.

Not suggesting who you vote for, just pointing out the empirical connection between pizza and political power; voting patterns and pepperoni; demographics and deep dish. Who needs data, you ask? We all know that America’s favorite food is popular among all electorates—not just ticked-off blue-collar workers in the industrial Midwest. No one eats more pizza than college students. But it’s undeniably true that pizza, through the centuries, has been embraced, and devoured, as an affordable, versatile, everyman’s family and community-minded meal. Since the time of the Roman Legions, this convenient, comforting source of protein and carbohydrates has fueled armies and political movements.

Earlier in this year’s campaign season, major news outlets flashed headlines like: “Hillary’s troops fueled on a steady ration of pizza.” The campaign dollars allotted for candidates' pizza parties among Democrats and Republicans alike in this campaign could fund a small country’s defense budget. The Palm Beach Post reports Democrats’ share of the pizza expenditure pie is significantly higher that the GOP’s, but voting loyalty may have as much to do with how you order as how much you eat. Bernie’s Battalions, according to Vocative.com, are surging to the hip social media platform Reddit. Led largely by pizza-passionate millennials, Sanders’ committed soldiers Bern brightly online—where they’ve been crowdfunding pizza deliveries in hopes of unhorsing the Clinton Dynasty just like the Trumpkins clipped back the Bushes.

It’s a long march to the Presidency—and the road to the White House is strewn with millions of pizza boxes. New research reveals, however, that supply shortfalls may threaten candidates’ advances like they challenged Sherman’s march to Atlanta. A new study by the real estate website Estately.com maps out each state’s per-capita pizzeria ranking nationwide. To date, the pizzeria-propensity data lines up, mostly, with 2016 primary results. Note that the top 10 densest pizzeria states begin with West Virginia, (who knew?) Delaware, New Jersey and Ohio, but also include New Hampshire (No. 8) and Nevada (No. 5). We at PMQ think it’s no mere coincidence that New Hampshire was a runaway primary victory for both Trump and Sanders on February 9. Trump went on February 23 to easily run the table in the Nevada Caucuses, where a nationally acclaimed Neapolitan slice is up for grabs at any respectable Las Vegas hotel. Consistent with our findings, Sanders came in a close second in Nevada February 20, but had Mrs. Clinton on the ropes in pizzeria-heavy New Hampshire. The Granite State motto is “Live Free or Die” and discriminating pizza lovers and voters lean independent.

Super Tuesday is mostly happening in Southern battlefields like Alabama, Georgia and Texas—all in the bottom ten of pizzeria-rich states. One March 1 exception is Massachusetts (No. 9 in pizzerias), where Trump is leading and Sanders competitive. Proving that every theory holds its own exception, Trump’s Southern campaign, with its mad-as-hell 35% cohort, is thumbing its nose at, while gleefully middle-fingering, its closest chicken-loving Republican establishment rivals. The Donald, who, ironically, once owned the New Jersey Generals and employed Georgia’s Hershel Walker, is on the cusp of out-performing his pizzeria factor in every state on the ballot. Validating our grand theory of pizza relativity, Sanders, on the other hand, is poised to demonstrate that pizza—and Brooklyn-born progressives—don’t stack up to pulled pork in Dixie.

When it comes to expectations-defying Trump, let’s bag the math and talk mozzarella. Cruz and Rubio never had a chance! They’re up against a guy who presumably knows how to fold a piece of authentic New York-style, and eat it sans knife or fork.

Or maybe they do. Trump is also the guy who thought the Strategic Triad consisted of cheese, sauce and pepperoni. I made that up. The Donald never even heard of the Strategic Triad.


1 comment: