Ballots for the 2016 presidential race can be cast starting Oct. 12, but residents of the Tri-State are already voting with their stomachs.
Busken Bakery started their quadrennial presidential cookie sale in August: One is stamped with Hillary Clinton, one with Donald Trump and, for the first time since 1992, a third option for the Cookie Party.
In 1992, Busken sold a Ross Perot cookie in addition to the pastry depictions of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Busken claims the presidential cookie poll has predicted the winner every election cycle since it started in 1984, when Walter Mondale lost to incumbent Ronald Reagan. We couldn’t find data going all the way back, but you can see for yourself that the cookie poll has predicted the winner correctly since 1992, even when it didn’t match Hamilton County’s results:
How presidents are made
Cookie decorators create the presidential pastries by stamping each white-iced cookie with black food coloring and finish up the details with airbrushing. All of the cookies are created in Busken’s Hyde Park production facility to ship out to its eight bakery locations as well as Remke Markets and all UDFs in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.
The caricatures of every single candidate since 1984 have been drawn by local artist Jim White. Busken initially reached out to Enquirer cartoonist Jim Borgman, but he was too busy and referred them to White, who was the political cartoonist at the University of Cincinnati News Record at the time.
Though he had aspirations to go into cartooning full time while in college, White now works in quality control and lives in Clifton. But he’s found artistic outlets in the cookies, in painting murals such as the one on the side of Arlin’s on Ludlow, and in creating his own comic books, the latest of which is for sale at Lentz in Clifton.
Every presidential election year White looks forward to getting the call from Busken.
“There are a lot of real characters running for president, usually,” he said.
In 2008, Busken also created vice president cookies because of the popularity of Sarah Palin, who was his favorite candidate to cookify in the past 32 years. As for his vote, he’s going with the Cookie Party.
“It’s the first time I can’t get behind a candidate,” White said.
Some local libertarians have wondered why Busken didn’t put Gary Johnson on the third-party cookie instead of a smiley face.
“We’ve gotten multiple emails about that candidate,” Birkofer said. “We decided we weren’t saying that voice shouldn’t be heard; the third party cookie could capture all of it.”