The Iowa State Fair runs through Aug. 23, and several Republican candidates are expected to stump there. Here are the fair-food equivalents for 10 of them. (Donald Trump hair: wtop.com photo)
With the first debate of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign in the books, now comes a brief lull in the action. Surely Donald Trump will bridge the gap by starting another another mini-controversy, but Iowa voters will have their world-famous Iowa State Fair to occupy their time.
Every year, more than a million visitors come to the state’s capital of Des Moines for food, fun, rides and outrageous edibles. The event, which kicked off Thursday, Aug. 13 and runs until Sunday, Aug. 23, will have nearly 200 vendors and 70 food items available on a stick. It is the state’s largest event and showcases its best of industry and agriculture.
But fairgoers will also get another treat as this year’s fair also comes during a presidential election cycle. And where the people are so will be several candidates stumping for the Oval Office. Who knows for sure if Trump will dive face-first into some cheese curds, but a-la “Seinfeld’s” George Constanza at the U.S. Open with ice cream sundae all over his face, maybe an embarrassing picture of the billionaire with dairy-streaked cheeks could affect his run for the White House.
But more importantly, for purposes here, if the 10 presidential candidates invited to the first debate were state-fair foods, which would they be?
Without delay, the Republican front-runner is first up. Trump is akin to a bacon-wrapped hot dog with chili and all the toppings: It looks delicious, smells amazing and some people just can’t resist the allure. But then an hour goes by and crippling heartburn and nausea strike. Like his bountiful bombast on the campaign trail, be careful the food choice because — as in politics — it can come with a dessert of regrets.
Not only because he is Latino, but Cruz seems like something spicy that also lacks a lot of substance; he’s jalapeño poppers personified. They are quite delicious and pack a little kick, but afterward, they leave you wanting something more substantial than just blustery rhetoric and crazy criticism.
Smart, handsome and, on the surface, perfect — except something just isn’t right. He is a Philadelphia chicken cheesesteak sandwich.
Calm, cool and collected, Ben Carson talks like a man in no hurry. And though on the surface a fried pork chop on a stick seems like a terribly bad idea, both he and it seem to get better the more you investigate.
He’s just kind of lame, talking a big game about Libertarian principles but unable to commit to the label — similar to pizza’s big reputation, but ordering it at state fair is just pointless when there are so many other great options around to delve into.
A go for the gusto type in his political style, Walker won’t back down from a challenge. To replicate his style in food form, he will get the hottest chicken wings possible and, in typical masculine style, not be able to admit they are too hot — even as his face turns red and tears stream down his face.
Would carrots with ranch dressing be too harsh? Since he declared his candidacy, Bush has thus far been underwhelming. Though he did begin to go on the offensive with a foreign policy speech, he’s still unimpressive. Therefore, he gets the bratwurst on a pretzel bun because it seems really promising, but pretzel buns always are a bit too hard, too salty or both and seem like a good idea until they turn out not to be.
Just like Cracker Jack, Huckabee seems decent and sweet on the surface until you find unwelcome and lame prizes inside. Dig down deeper in the snack box and nuts abound as well, just like Huckabee’s platform.
Not a Cuban sandwich, Christie is quite serious and doesn’t ham it up. He is more like something promising and serious that leaves you unfulfilled. St. Louis-style ribs fit the description: They are meaty, dripping with mouthwatering sauce and will leave you wanting more.
Kasich is a bit of a mixed bag. One of the only Republican candidates who admits that climate change is real and a problem, as the governor of Ohio, he’s also presided over 12 executions. Kasich gets something that is a bit of both worlds. A chocolate-covered bacon maple nougat on a stick is both sweet and savory and fits his persona.
Noah Zuss is a reporter for TheBlot Magazine.