Soda Was a Big Loser This Election

November 12th 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

It seems one of the few silver linings to the 2016 elections—besides marijuana legalization and several victories for women senators—is that a powerful corporate lobby that impacts the health of most Americans just lost a big battle.

Four cities across the country and one county just passed a soda tax.

3 California cities—San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany—as well as Boulder, CO, passed ballot measures on Tuesday which would hike up the price of soda from one to two cents per ounce. On Thursday, Cook County, Il, passed a similar tax. The taxes were fought hard by the American Beverage Association, which dished out $20 million in hopes of preventing the them from passing.

Advocates believe that the tax will deter consumers from buying products that have been linked to heart attacks, obesity, diabetes, and other medical conditions. Since Berkeley, CA, passed the tax in 2014, soda drinking dropped 20 percent, according to TIME. If nothing else, the money will raise revenue that can be used to fund nutrition and health programs or go to general funds. 

Not everyone is pleased.

Opponents have said that the “regressive tax” would hurt low-income families, small businesses, and have even falsely claimed that Senator Bernie Sanders was against the measures. Beneath those claims is likely the fear that the tax could spread to more locations across the country, in a fashion similar to the banning of plastic bags that has taken place in over 150 locations.

Despite deceptive tactics, such as paying nutrition experts to recommend soda, the idea of a soda tax is becoming more popular in a nation that has long been going through what some call an “obesity epidemic.” There are those who see the soda industry acting in the fear that they’ve just lost a culture war.