The limits of American beer royalty
"The Heiress Valentine" tests the present-day cachet of Busch bona fides in Missouri
*clomps towards you on a Clydesdale, shouting maniacally*
IN THIS BOOZELETTER, WE BELIEVE:
SCIENCE IS REAL!
TRUDY BUSCH VALENTINE IS THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS!
THE BREWING DYNASTY SHE BELONGS TO HAS A LOT OF BAGGAGE!
SHE HASN’T DONE HERSELF ANY FAVORS, EITHER!
IT’S TRICKY TO QUANTIFY THE POLITICAL CAPITAL OF BEER ROYALTY IN THESE TIMES!
IT WOULD BE COOL IF DEMOCRATS STOPPED KNEECAPPING PROGRESSIVES THOUGH!
UH… WATER IS LIFE?
*hops out of the saddle, shatters ankle because Clydesdales are like 10ft high, shotguns a Bud Light Next from the ground*
Howdy! It’s been a while since we checked in Trudy Busch Valentine’s bid to represent Missouri as Senator Budweiser. You may recall that the daughter of August Busch III—the last Busch to successfully run Anheuser-Busch before Carlos Brito and Dem InBev Bois™️ got The Fourth and the rest of the family outta the paint in 2008—is running as a centrist Democrat, and the first bona fide member of American beer royalty to make a go at the upper chamber since Pete “Eat Doors” Coors tried and failed to land one of Colorado’s seats as an anti-gay marriage Republican in 2004.
If this were 20 years ago, her dazzling beer-dynasty credentials probably would’ve been an unalloyed asset to her campaign. But post-Tea Party and -Trump, with “incoherent folk libertarianism” rising on the right, and “the wreckage of neoliberalism” increasingly impossible to ignore all around us, being a Busch isn’t what it used to be. Valentine hasn’t made things any easier on herself: her last-minute entry to the Democratic primary with little prior fundraising called attention to her vast personal wealth, and was considered in progressive circles to be an effort by establishment Democrats to stanch the surging popularity of anti-monopoly ex-Marine populist Lucas Kunce. Pretty much immediately after she announced, people were like “lol didn’t you used to do white-supremacist beauty pageants?” It was a rocky start, and the hits kept coming: Valentine Shock-Topped her pageant gaffe with a campaign ad featuring the Busch family’s iconic Grant Farms, which just so happens to sit on the land of a former plantation called, I shit you not, “White Haven.” I’d say it happens to the best of us, but it really doesn’t!
In August, Valentine, whose Budweiser-built fortune totals as much as $215 million, narrowly beat Kunce for the Democratic nomination after outspending him almost 5-1 on TV ads (lol, lmao.) From what I’ve seen/read, she’s run an unremarkable campaign as a middle-of-the-roader in the general. I don’t know much about Missouri politics, so I have no idea how her “common-sense moderate” pitch will fare on Tuesday, though she’s currently trailing by double digits to her Republican opponent Eric Schmitt (the former Missouri attorney general, who spent the pandemic suing the Biden administration over vaccine mandates, and individual school districts over mask mandates, very cool!) Generally speaking, I think it’s Not Ideal that powerful people like Valentine can use inherited wealth and invaluable connections within the Democratic Party’s upper echelons—Trudy was a major Hillary Clinton donor, obviously—to hip-check a popular leftist out of contention, of course, but that’s how our big beautiful system works. For the record I think she’s the lesser of two evils; however, due to recent corporate cowardice, the Fingers Editorial Board no longer issues endorsements on individual candidates, so DON’T put in the newspaper that I endorsed her.
Regardless of the outcome, this race has fascinated me in its final days for another reason: the way Schmitt is trying to paint Valentine as an out-of-touch “limousine liberal” heiress without acknowledging she’s a Busch. The phrasing his campaign seems to have settled on down the home stretch is “The Heiress Valentine.” For example: