Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

America Votes the Way It Eats

You can learn a lot about how the voting public thinks based on what's available to eat in chain restaurants.

After this last election, we already know the way America votes. Now, after spending the last three weeks on the road, I know the way America eats. I’m convinced these two things are connected.

It’s hard to eat well — or even marginally correctly — when you’re on the road. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of driving: three weeks ago, from Long Island to Nashville, Tennessee; a few days later from Nashville to Charlottesville, Virginia; a week ago from Charlottesville to Birmingham, Alabama, and back over the weekend. Sunday, I’ll pack my son in the car and take him back to Nashville; then I’ll turn around and drive to Washington, D.C., and from there, back home to Long Island. That’s about 4,500 miles altogether, almost every mile of which I spent out on the interstates doing 70 mph.

The big signs stuck up on poles above the trees for the restaurant chains flash by. The fast-food joints of course: McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Hardee’s, Popeyes, Subway. Then there are the so-called “family” chains: Outback, Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday, Red Robin, Red Lobster, O’Charley’s, Texas Roadhouse. I’ve probably missed a few, but you get the picture.  This country has become one gigantic chain store.

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