About six months ago, in the heat of the primary season, we looked at what the candidates were eating. At the time, Jeb Bush had just lost 40 pounds on the Paleo diet. Marco Rubio’s tastes were eclectic, embracing everything from Chik-Fil-A to bashes at different Four Seasons hotels. Ben Carson showed a distinct preference for down-home cooking, exemplified by BBQ, Irish pubs, and Washington, D.C. institutions such as Ben’s Chili Bowl.
They’re all vanquished now, leaving Hillary, The Donald and Bernie (for the moment). The Bern, not surprisingly, has spent the least on feeding his staff, favoring places such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread. Of the trio of remaining candidates, he has indulged the most in Mexican food—nearly twice as much as Hillary, and twelve times as much as Trump.
Back in November, we echoed the conventional wisdom that the Clinton campaign was “fueled by pizza,” along with other high-carb foods such as donuts and bagels. That trend has continued, with an emphasis on convenience over quality: nearly one-third of the campaign’s dining budget is spent at Domino’s. When it comes to booze, Hillary is the overwhelming winner, with indulgences such as $15,000 at Manhattan’s 40/40 Club, a night spot owned by rapper Jay-Z, and $10,000 at Elevate, an ultra-lounge in LA (no details given as to dishes or beverages of choice). Her list is also liberally sprinkled with hefty payments to carefully selected caterers. Trump, being a teetotaler, spends the least of the three on alcohol.
In terms of overall expenditures on food, though, Trump has led most of the way, but not all of his dining is high-end. The Donald is known to be a fan of McDonald’s, and is reportedly fond of Big Macs and the Filet-o-Fish; 29% of his food budget has been devoted to the Golden Arches. He also likes Jason’s Deli and subway.
If you’ve watched the campaign carefully, you’ve seen the candidates’ waistlines gradually but visibly expand. The road to the White House may be paved with ambition, hard work and setbacks, but it’s also inevitably studded with junk food.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation (Lyons Press, 2014); his first novel, Friend of the Devil, is now available from Black Opal Books. for more information, go to amazon.com