Music and the 2016 Election: The Losers
Ah, Bernie, we hardly knew ye...
Album cover/Burlington Recordings
Look, I get it, at this point in the presidential-election cycle, we are all suffering from information overload. A lot of us don't even care anymore because we've already cast our ballots. However, many others remain undecided; shoutout to Ken Bone.
A typical undecided voter might make his or her choice based on some pretty arbitrary things, like for instance a candidate's music taste, or whom the voter's favorite celebrity endorses. So to add to the potential arbitrariness of your vote choice, we hope to educate these undecided members of the electorate on the music used during the election cycle, in hopes that it might sway you to get out and exercise your right as a citizen of this country.
Since we are now in the general-election portion of the presidential cycle, tomorrow we'll focus on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. However, I still think we should show some love to those faces who may have been forgotten by now. In case you're interested in the music heard at the Republican and Democratic national conventions, Fusion has a great article.
The Independent Senator from Vermont made waves in the political process by being a principled leader, something you don't really get from today's modern "show me the money" politicians. Couple that with the fact that he actually recorded a folk album in 1987, when he was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and it's not really surprising to see artists, people who are sometimes said to be "starving," support a candidate who talks about the economic inequality we face today in this nation.
Among the lengthy list of endorsements Sanders received during his campaign were Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jeff Tweedy, Steve Earle, Kanye West, Lil B and Grimes, just to name a few. Killer Mike of Run the Jewels fame is to this day one of Sanders's strongest advocates, speaking out against the choices we have been left with, saying that voting for either of them is voting for the same person, and even going so far as to sell T-shirts with Clinton's hacked emails printed on them. His reluctance to endorse Clinton shows he is just as principled as the OG (which stands for "Old Guy" in this context) he so fervently supported throughout the primaries.
There was a common theme in the music Sanders's team used while on the campaign trail: Revolution. Several songs heard at his rallies included the word, like the songs by Bob Marley and Flogging Molly both titled "Revolution," and the Tracy Chapman classic "Talkin' 'bout a Revolution." Before the Iowa caucus, his campaign ran an ad that included Simon and Garfunkel's "America," a song about the hardships the duo faced while making the uphill climb to a major record label. In a way, the song is analogous to Sanders's candidacy; when he first entered the race, he was virtually unknown, but by the time he conceded the race to Clinton, he had become a household name.
The Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan is the only musician I have ever heard denounce Sanders, calling him a socialist and comparing him to ruthless Communist leader Mao Zedong. I don't think it really holds a lot of weight when you realize these statements were made on Alex Jones's InfoWars Youtube show. To put this into perspective, Jones truly believes that Hillary Clinton is a demon, so forgive me if I take Corgan's words with a grain of salt. Smashing Pumpkins weren't that good to begin with.
Many thought that the Senator from Florida, who is currently fighting for that same seat, was the Republican party's presumptive nominee when he entered the race. However, his robotic showings at the GOP's primary-season debates, and of course the "little hands" incident, hurt his campaign and forced him to drop out after losing his home state to Donald Trump. However, if I were to vote for politicians just based on their musical tastes, I think I would have voted for Rubio; alas, politics involves a little bit more than a candidate's personal music preferences. Although, I must admit, I had to give "Little Marco" demerits when I heard about his bashing the Bee Gees.
Rubio is a hip-hop head, as perplexing as that may be, although I use that term lightly because he has professed his love for Nicki Minaj and fellow Floridian Pitbull. Although he redeems himself in my mind because he also claims to be an avid Tupac Shakur fan (he thinks the West Coast is better than the East, in case you were wondering) as well as a Wu-Tang Clan listener, even though he's not able to name a single member of the group. If he had campaigned saying that he'd get Martin Shkreli to release the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which the infamous Pharma executive bought for a cool $2 million, I might have worked on his campaign.
Rubio also confessed to being a fan of EDM artists such as Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta and Axwell ^ Ingrosso, whose song "Something New" Rubio used as walk-off music after announcing his presidential bid. However, the Swedish duo didn't appreciate Rubio's use of their music, citing that he did not have the group's permission. Sadly, his love for hip-hop and EDM would not have played well with his prospective coalition as he moved further into the primaries, so he resorted to Christian rock from bands like MercyMe.
Texas's own Senator had a pretty tough time during the primaries. He was made into a meme, his family was personally attacked, and those who were involved in his favorite movies and TV shows spoke out against him. It didn't stop after he dropped out either; a week after he officially conceded the race, Cruz was hit with a lawsuit from the music-licensing company Audiosocket over the failed presidential candidate's use of its client's music in a pair of campaign videos run during the primary.
This wasn't the first time "Lyin' Ted" ran into some trouble over using music without permission. Back in February, Austin natives and Sound on Sound Fest headliners Explosions in the Sky had their music used by the Tea Party Republican in a campaign video that featured Texas Governor Greg Abbott endorsing Cruz. In response, the band released this tweet in which it expressed its dislike for both politicians. The video has since been taken down.
One song that could be heard at Cruz rallies, though, was Aaron Tippin's "Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly," a patriotic song that was released shortly after the tragedies of September 11, which is when Cruz has said his personal music taste changed drastically. During an interview on CBS This Morning, Cruz shared with the panel that he had grown up with classic rock, but said his "music taste changed on 9/11," claiming he "didn't like how rock music responded," so instead he turned to country music, where tunes like Tippin's tugged at America's heartstrings. When I first heard that 9/11 was Cruz's reason for turning to country music, I instantly thought of Lois Griffin, but really, I see Cruz more as a Ned Flanders type.
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