On Saturday, Americans witnessed the biggest choice any of the major candidates have made this election season. No, It wasn’t Donald Trump announcing Indiana governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate. That relatively uninspired choice was quickly overshadowed by an even more mundane decision: Pence’s choice to grab dinner that night at a Chili’s.
Just hours after Trump introduced his running mate in a speech in New York City, Pence and his family killed some time before a reportedly delayed flight by grabbing dinner at a Chili’s Grill & Bar near the Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. “Busy weekend in NY!” Pence tweeted. “Enjoying a quick dinner with the family at @Chilis. Looking forward to getting back to Indiana.”
To put it politely, many on the internet found it surprising that while visiting one of the world’s top culinary destinations, Pence would go the Chili’s route. Though in his defense, if he truly was “looking forward to getting back to Indiana,” Chili’s has three locations in his state’s capital, so maybe the Tex-Mex chain makes him feel at home. Plus, speculation is that Pence and company were in East Rutherford at the time, in which case Chili’s may really have been the best option. (While that’s intended as a joke, TripAdvisor does rank Chili’s at the 16th best restaurant in East Rutherford.)
So what, if anything, can we glean from Pence’s decision to not only dine at Chili’s, but to publicly promote his choice of the chain on Twitter? The inner workings of any politicians mind are a vast, dark labyrinth, but here are a few possibilities:
The Chili’s choice could speak to a proclivity towards supporting big business, something MarketWatch recently hinted at in an analysis of the candidate. Or maybe going to Chili’s is reflective of his willingness to listen to his constituents? He was dining with family members who may have been pining for White Spinach Queso and Pence decided to support the will of the people. Then again, Trump has been very outspoken about his affection for McDonald’s – a stance that has seemed to enamor him to average Americans. Thus, Pence embracing one of the country’s largest dining chains could be a further extension of that strategy: Winning over America by aligning with their stomachs.
Maybe he is attempting to appeal to hipster voters love of irony. Or maybe he just likes baby back ribs.
In the end, though, let me just say this: If we were all to be judged by the dining decisions we’ve made while killing time waiting for a delayed flight, Twitter would probably be mad at all of us all the time.