As the 2016 presidential race slogs on, and it seems like (finally) no more Republicans are going to join the field (although it's only Monday, so we'll see), candidates are working hard to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack. When your primary opponents include 20 other people, defining what sets you apart and makes you the one voters want ain't easy. Well, maybe, for Donald Trump, it's easier; his strategy seems to consist mainly of yelling. But for other presidential candidates, drinking beer has become one of the most quintessential American things to do, and loving a good ale could be a valuable quality in getting votes.
For candidates, the time-honored tradition of "Engaging With Normals In Their Natural Habitats" can be a viable option. Show them you're just like them, the thinking goes, and you'll give the press something to chew on, and people will feel like if they can relate to you, they'll vote for you. And how better to relate to regular people than by drinking beer with them! Everyone likes beer, right? Next you'll be inviting us all over for a barbecue or to watch baseball or something, to convince us you like us.
Not all the candidates are beer drinkers, and for some of them, there's not a lot of evidence that they have ever consumed a beer, even if there's photographic proof they've at least held a beer.
Chris Christie may need to drink beers with a few people who are not CNN news anchors if he really wants to win the nomination.
But how about Scott Walker: Not only did he have a beer, he had a double cheeseburger, you guys, maybe that's something mandatory in Wisconsin. They love their cheese.
Marco Rubio gets points for being in a brewery, but did he actually commit to hoisting a glass? It's unclear.
And it looks like Ted Cruz literally lost a bet in his very natural and not at all staged picture of himself holding a bottle of beer.
This idea of connecting to voters via beer isn't limited to GOP candidates; the Democrats are known to enjoy a good brew every now and again as well. Bernie Sanders smartly lifted a can of Heady Topper, which is brewed in his home state of Vermont.
And Hillary Clinton toured Smuttynose Brewery in New Hampshire, presumably as part of her campaign to drum up votes in one of the early primary states.
But why beer? Is it a macho thing for male candidates who need to try to connect with other guys? Some campaign manager somewhere must have dreamed it up as a way to show manliness, not accounting for the possibility that women might A) vote or B) run for office, too.
Regardless of where they stand on their choice of preferred beverage, the 2016 presidential candidates have one pretty big obstacle in their way when it comes to beer drinking as a campaign strategy. No matter what they do, they'll never quite look as cool doing so as the current occupant of the Oval Office.
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