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Fast Food Politics: Chains That Don't Support Republican Ideals

Lately it seems restaurants that rely on the 99 percent for their business are only interested in donating those profits to politicians supporting the policies of rich, straight, white people.
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Lately it seems restaurants that rely on the 99 percent for their business are only interested in donating those profits to politicians supporting the policies of rich, straight, white people. Chick-fil-A is homophobic and Papa John's promises to charge customers extra for a slice of wet cheese on white bread if everyone has health care. Even Cinnabon is owned by an investment firm named after Ayn Rand protagonist Howard Roark -- for truly the Caramel Pecanbun has integrity like a man, and just as seldom.

Liberals can boycott delicious chicken sandwiches all they want, but if they need something cheap and fast they practically have to donate to Mitt Romney's campaign. According to campaign finance reports, most fast-food restaurants have a PAC, and overwhelmingly those committees donate to Republicans. In the interest of an informed electorate voting with their dollars, here are five fast-food restaurants that support liberal causes.

Popeye's Chicken
John Goodman makes a great Col. Sanders eager to cash in on Chick-fil-A's homophobia in Funny or Die videos. But in truth KFC-owned Yum! Brand's gave 81 percent of their donations to conservatives in 2012. If you want a business that truly shows no sign of being ideologically opposed to your gay chicken money, go to Popeye's. While the company doesn't have a PAC to track, company chair John M. Cranor III donates to Democrat politicians in his home state of Florida. He also serves on the board of the National Stem Cell Foundation, with the shockingly reasonable mission to fund, promote and support research. That puts him in opposition to Republican veep nominee Paul Ryan who's voted against promoting stem cell research four times in the House. Plus, they're open on Sunday.

Dairy Queen
It's been said some achievements transcend the mundane vagaries of politics and belong to the ages. Perhaps Beethoven's fifth, or Marcel Proust's sweet and terrible meditations on the nature of man grappling with his own memories in "In Search of Lost Time." But certainly The Dairy Queen Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard. It's so wonderful that the greatest investor of all-time wanted it in his portfolio. Warren Buffet's Berskshire Hathaway acquired DQ in 1998. The Oracle of Omaha backed Barack Obama in his first run and has supported higher taxes on the one percent, of whom he is certainly a member.

If you're lucky enough to live in one of the 28 states that has a Checkers you know the simple midnight joy of fumbling a paper bag from the drive-through window into your car before it's disintegrated by French fry grease. Seemingly concerned normal fast-food provided too many frills, Checkers boiled the model down to the basics of two drive-through windows, late hours, and fat, greasy burgers. The company that owns them, Wellspring Capital, doesn't have a PAC but founding managing partner Greg S. Feldman contributes to Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Clyde Williams.

Panera Bread
The only restaurant on this list without a pick-up window, Panera Bread is still as much a fast-food place as anyone, albeit one where you can convincingly tell yourself the food is, if not healthy, at least further from horrible than a greasy spoon. Save yourself calories with the black bean soup and political guilt knowing that the company's founder and CEO Ronald M. Schaich has given $30,000 to the DNC and $5,000 to Barack Obama this election cycle.

The Seattle bean roasters have done well by progressive causes. They have fair trade products, a National Recycling Coalition Recycling Works Award for advances in food packaging, and they give out used grounds for composting upon request. For a while, CEO Howard Schultz was happy to pass some of the profits along to Democrats through the company's PAC and personal contributions to Barack Obama. Then in 2011, he issued a statement that he'd stop contributing to any politician long as they chose "to put partisan and ideological purity over the well-being of the people." Schultz finished his call to close checkbooks with a statement any reasonable person should agree with when looking to Washington D.C. over the last few years: "Our country is better than this."

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