Wine Caves are NOT the Problem

Hopefully your holiday spirits, dear readers, will be in full swing this week and thus you’ll indulge me a bit of (non-partisan) political commentary.

During the most recent 2019 debate of Democratic party Presidential contenders, a rather sizeable hullabaloo was generated when, during the course of the proceedings, it was mentioned that Mayor Pete Buttigieg had held a rather expensive fundraiser at the Napa Valley wine cave of Craig and Kathryn Hall.

Reaction to the lavish location of the fundraiser has not been short on criticism. And the fundraiser deserves to be criticized; just not for its location.

The issue here is not that the fundraiser was held in a lavish wine cave with ultra-expensive vino on the menu; I mean, what the hell are we supposed to go to Napa for, after all? Luxurious environs, lavish meals, and super-premium wines are the entire f*cking point of Napa Valley’s lucrative tourism industry.

The trouble is much larger and far more important; we have a terrible history with big donor contributions in the USA’s current political system. The wine cave hatred is just another example of deflection, and piling on the lazy perception in the mainstream press of fine wine wine as douchebaggy.

Remove the locale from the scenario, and you see the real problem. Political candidates need lots of money to run in elections (including in ultra-partisan primaries). To get that money, they turn to big donors, and end up passing laws that allow even more money to be donated to them. The result is that those politicians need our votes not because we are their true constituency, but because they need to get into power via public elections in order to enact the agendas of their true constituents: the big-time donors. A not insignificant portion the political and social woes in the U.S. are directly and indirectly impacted by this scenario. Of course, wealthy individuals have just as much right to vote and choose candidates as anyone, but I think it can be successfully argued that they don’t deserve to have more influence over political agendas simply because they can afford to feed to the current (broken) system.

You want to rant and rave about the unfairness of the current status quo? Hey, I’m all for doing that. Go and do your part to support campaign finance reform. But the wine caves have precious little to do with it; so leave them out of it, because they’re merely a distraction from the bigger picture.


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