We’re less than two months into the 2020 presidential campaign. And we already have our first food-related controversy. The problem is, some Democratic leaders in Iowa don’t seem to care.
Cory Booker, a senator from New Jersey, launched his bid for the Democratic nomination at the month’s start. Shortly after, people started discussing the fact that Booker is vegan and whether that will hurt his chances to win early in Iowa. Why? Because Iowa is the number one pork-producing state in the nation.
But when Politico asked Democratic leaders in the state, they seemed completely uninterested.
Sean Bagniewski, chairman of the Polk County Democrats, said this: “If you’re voting for somebody based on what’s on their dinner table, then you’ve got bigger problems.”
Bagniewski’s comments concern me. A lot.
We can have a conversation about Booker, his veganism, and his other policies at another time. That’s not what this article is about. This is about the apathy, even in a state so dependent on agriculture, for farm issues.
I do care about what a candidate puts on his plate. And that doesn’t mean I have big problems. No, I don’t care if Donald Trump chows down on well-done steak, even if I find that unappetizing. But if a candidate’s food choices reflect some larger ideogology about food production in our country, then I definitely want to know about it.
Do any of the candidates insist on organic-only cuisine? Do they worry about whether genetically-modified crops are safe? Would any of them want to see animal agriculture ended?
These questions matter. Because they can influence legislation, regulations, and public opinion. So when a candidate adheres to something like veganism, voters should ask questions and want to know more. And modern-agriculture supporting voters definitely should ask these questions.
I don’t know why Cory Booker is vegan. I don’t know whether he thinks we should all be vegan. And I don’t know how he views animal agriculture at large. But I’ll definitely ask those questions and report on the answers.
And I’ll reject anyone who suggests it simply doesn’t matter. Because it does.
Really?? Maybe you should focus on his views of abortion, healthcare, taxes and such. Maybe he is vegan for religious reasons? Maybe it is health reasons?
Or maybe he wants to end animal agriculture? Whatever it is, we have a right to know and ask questions. I can’t believe this is even disputed!
Those other issues are all important too. But this is an agriculture blog and that’s what I choose to write about. Unless you’re suggesting that farm issues aren’t important?
Farm issues are important, yes. However, I think you’re making a big leap; him being vegan to ending animal agriculture.
I specifically said I didn’t know whether he espouses such views. But contrary to comment made by Iowa leaders, I think those are questions we should ask.
And not a very big leap between vegans and ending animal agriculture. Take HUSU, for example. They hide behind an agenda of “helping animals” when the real agenda is ending animal ag.
exactly. you don’t know his views.
what if he is vegan because of a health reason? maybe he is allergic to milk? maybe he has an ostomy and meat is very hard to digest?
also, if elected, he would be president; not the king. i’m pretty sure he can’t just “end animal agriculture” with a declaration…
You’ve completely missed the point of the article. I’ll try to state it as succinctly as possible: Iowa Democratic leaders don’t care why he’s vegan. They say it doesn’t matter. I say it does. If he’s vegan because he wants to end animal agriculture, that’s a problem. If he’s vegan because he can’t eat it for a legitimate reason, that’s fine. But we have a right to know and we have a right to ask those questions.
The concept isn’t really that hard or even controversial. We should be able to ask presidential candidates about their beliefs and positions on issues important to us.
It’s a legitimate question. Many vegans believe that raising animals for food is unethical and inhumane. Also I suspect that some become vegan because they have utopian ideals about food production; i.e. organic = pure and natural(whatever that means?) or big industrial farm = bad and small boutique farm = good. If someone running for president has these beliefs I’d want to know.
Richard Mercier says
Personally, I wouldn’t believe a thing that comes out of Cory Booker’s mouth. If he thought that eating a hamburger every day would help him win the Presidency, you would see him at every burger joint in the country. He would throw the Democratic Party under the bus if he thought it would further his agenda. Cory Booker only cares about himself and his self-interest. But then again so do most on the extreme left!!
Yes! We need to understand candidates’ food and ag policies. Really.
Dennis Laughton says
If you don’t ask the question, You won’t know the answer. This is the reason ag is fighting issues from a rear guard position, i.e. organic pesticides. GMO. glyphosate. It is better to be pro-active.