PS Picks: The Hipster Coffee Shop

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This PS Pick originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive early access to feature stories, an ad-free version of PSmag.com, and other benefits.

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Ohio Democratic congressional candidate Danny O'Connor visits the Cup O Joe coffeehouse to thank voters and campaign volunteers and speak to reporters following a special election on August 8th, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio Democratic congressional candidate Danny O'Connor visits the Cup O Joe coffeehouse to thank voters and campaign volunteers and speak to reporters following a special election on August 8th, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio.

The Hipster Coffee Shop: Conservatives fed up at Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon and Seth Myers have long searched for a late-night conservative comedian, but, more recently, their lack of representation in the early morning has come to a head too: In the voices of many to the right of center, the coffee shop market appears cornered entirely by liberals. In recent years, a number of conservative, and specifically Second Amendment-friendly coffee shops, have sprouted across the country. And yet the idea, coined by David Brooks, of the "latte liberal" still holds large cultural currency, and so the café sits at the center of long-brewing culture wars. In the wake of widely unpopular stances and executive orders, President Donald Trump's defenders online will frequently reference overhearing hushed approval for their man at "hipster coffee shops"—presumably offering evidence of Trump's quiet (and totally true) support from even those on the left-wing.

An enumerated, representative set of examples from Trump supporting, Gateway Pundit commenter Jacob Wohl: https://twitter.com/HashtagGriswold/status/1055226349890256897

To be certain, there is a sense in which coffee shops may have a liberal bent. A recent survey of 1,500 Americans, produced by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, found that, while Americans across the aisle love coffee, support for the specialty drinks one typically finds at cafes—like lattes—was higher among liberals. (After controlling for location and socioeconomic factors, the researchers found the effect still held and concluded it might be related to the fact that liberals are more likely to try something with a foreign-sounding name—no matter that most coffee beans are imported.) Some cafés have even acted on that liberal bent: Starbucks, notably, rebuked Trump's travel ban by pledging to hire 10,000 refugees by 2022.

For their part of the "hipster coffee shop" equation, hipsters do skew liberal, even though they are frequently decried by the left for their poor personal politics (notably as gentrifiers).

And yet, to anyone who has ever actually set foot in a café, there is something twee about the conservative fantasy of the coffee shop as a liberal oasis. Sometimes a morning coffee is, in fact, a morning coffee, and not fuel for resistance politics.

The fake dispatches from cafés, however, should never cease. If the café itself cannot truly be the epicenter of left politics, we can settle for its existence as such in the minds of those on the right.

This PS Pick originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive early access to feature stories, an ad-free version of PSmag.com, and other benefits.

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