The phrase ‘Latte Liberals’ has long been used to slight American progressives—to dismiss their attempts to effect social change based on their financial stability or other social factors. Urban Dictionary defines the term as “Liberals who have nothing better to do than to join fashionable causes,” stating that the phrase comes from “liberals who sit around and drink overpriced diluted Starbucks coffee while lamenting the plight of the poor.” And even though most of this definition is wildly misguided, it looks like they may have gotten the latte part right.
A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania found that liberals are more likely to drink lattes than conservatives—but not just because they “have nothing better to do.”
The reason has more to do with the latte’s European ancestry and the ideologies that many liberals share. Apparently, liberals are more open to globalization, while conservatives—who (shocker) tend to be more nationalistic—tend to shy away from foreign products of all kinds, which means less lattes for Trump-supporters.
Diana C. Mutz and her co-author Jahnavi S. Rao talk about their findings in, “The Real Reason Liberals Drink Lattes,” a new study recently published in PS: Political Science & Politics. They surveyed 1,500 Americans, and asked them about their coffee preferences, political ideology, household income, gender, zip code, and attitudes toward globalization.
The results showed that while liberals and conservative were just as likely to enjoy coffee, liberals had a stronger preference for lattes than conservatives. However, they also found that most Americans prefer regular brewed coffee to lattes, anyway—regardless of their political affiliations. In fact, the study found, only 16 percent of liberals, 11 percentof moderates, and 9 percent of conservatives prefer lattes.
Despite the fact that lattes made in America are, well, made in America, the study suggests that the Italian-sounding name could be throwing conservatives off, causing them to opt for drinks that are better suited for their ‘America-first’ attitude. (You can’t make this stuff up, people.)
Unfortunately for conservatives hoping to really stick it to those pesky Italians trying to flood our country with delicious lattes, switching to regular brewed coffee doesn’t really help. Most of the coffee we get in the States is imported from overseas anyway, from places like South America and Africa. Even more ironically, according to the researchers, latte consumption actually contributes more to the American economy than regular coffee, since the milk used to make the beverage bolsters the American dairy industry. Put that in your MAGA-themed pipe and smoke it.
The authors of the study hope that instead of being a sign of liberal elitism, drinking lattes will soon be seen as a symbol of inclusion—one of openness to globalization and willingness to embrace open markets. Hopefully they’re right; that the term ‘latte liberals’ will fade out of existence, that this isn’t all just be a result of overpriced Starbucks menus, and that conservatives will—one day—slug lattes and kumbaya with Italians everywhere.
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