In Which I Reconsider My Entire Political Outlook

For anyone who might not yet have seen this: Mike Shannon and Will Feltus, at the Atlantic Media's Hotline site, have provided a psycho-graphic/beer-o-graphic post matching beer preference to political outlook and behavior. Read their post for elaboration, and this related story, but this is the crucial graph:


My no-contest clear favorite among all the beers listed turns out to be the reddest of red-state, high-turnout-Republican preference. And the most purely Democratic beer is one I avoid -- although to be fair, I would take it over most of the other weak-tea alternatives displayed here. And, not to be too catty or snooty about it, but how exactly does anyone tell most of these other beers apart?

To me it is interesting (a) that the winning red-state beer has almost nothing in common with the other beers in its same high-turnout Republican-leaning quadrant, and (b) that another beer from the reportedly right-leaning Sam Adams family was the one chosen by Henry Louis Gates at the famous White House beer summit back in 2009. You do have to wonder how this chart would look if it included any craft or micro-brew products other than Sam Adams, the biggest "micro" brewer of them all. Sierra Nevada? New Belgium? Lagunitas? Flying Dog, and Heavy Seas? Victory or Boulevard or Dogfish Head or Summit? Without going down the long list, it is interesting to speculate on the correlations.

But instead of quibbling over methodology, I will say thank you to the creators of this chart (and to our friends at Hotline) and stick to the "I encompass multitudes" interpretation of the results. Democratic in economic outlook, Republican in beer preference, all-American in loyalties, I take this as new evidence that we can indeed all get along.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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