Obituaries

What’s Ahead in 2024? The Cookie Cutters Tell All.

Ben Clark may be uniquely qualified to predict the outcome of the next presidential election. He’s not a pollster or political strategist. He makes cookie cutters.

The metal baking tools are an uncanny cultural bellwether, said Mr. Clark, who runs Ann Clark, the largest cookie-cutter manufacturer in the United States. Just after the 2016 election, he noticed that percentage sales of his Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump cutters roughly aligned with the vote.

Last spring, guitar and musical-note shapes began selling at a rapid clip, just as Taylor Swift was starting her Eras tour. In July, cookie cutters shaped like lipsticks and convertible cars picked up steam, thanks to Barbie mania.

On a recent morning at the factory in Rutland. Vt., Mr. Clark was puzzling over next year’s election — specifically, how to create a cookie cutter of President Biden, whose silhouette isn’t all that recognizable. Suddenly, it hit him.

“The glasses!” said Mr. Clark, referring to Mr. Biden’s signature aviator shades. “That’s what it has to be.”

Ann Clark, right, started the company in 1989 with her husband, John Clark. Their son, Ben Clark, left, joined nearly a decade later.Credit…Oliver Parini for The New York Times

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