The Campaign Songs Playlist in its entirety can be listened to by clicking on the embedded playlist below. Follow @theforestscout on Spotify for other curated, annotated, and themed playlists.
Running for president is not easy. The media will critique everything that you do, say, and stand in the way of, so you have to choose each tactical decision carefully leading up to election day.In a day and age where everything is public, and, in turn, widely scrutinized, it is hard to find something new and unique to think about. Thus, today I will be critiquing specific candidate’s choice of campaign songs. (NOTE: these are most (if not all) good songs, but they were just awfully chosen to represent a presidential campaign.)
Reagan ’84- “Born in the USA” Bruce Springsteen
Don’t even get me started on this. Springsteen is a great artist and I love most of his songs–including this one–but it is one of the most misconstrued songs in American history. This is not a patriotic song. Rather, it was specifically written as an anti-American song. He is writing this to show how stupid the “American Dream” was while he was growing up during Vietnam and other major American hardships. This song details the Vietnam War and how a bunch of kids got sent to war in to kill without ever truly understanding–much less believing in–the nature of its cause. The entire song is a satire about being “born in the USA” because it is paired with a beat that makes you want to sing along and it sounds prideful. I can see why his campaign would want to pick this song because it is about the US and will get stuck in people’s heads, but when you’re in politics you have to do much more research before you do anything. Another aspect that led to this songs catastrophic usage was the mere fact that Springsteen never gave permission for Reagan to use this song is his campaign.
John Kerry ’04 – “Fortunate Son” Creedence Clearwater Revival
Okay, this is basically the same thing as Reagan. How come politicians don’t look into the songs that they choose before deciding on them. Don’t they have teams of people hired on committees to avoid these egregious mistakes? “Fortunate Son” is yet another protest song about the youth of America going to war that some say is on par with that of Bob Dylan’s protest music. Again with this, it is a great song and it is on my own playlist but John Kerry chose the wrong one for his campaign. “Fortunate Son” chronicles how all of the rich people in America got exempt from going to war because they were the sons of politicians or wealthy businessmen. The lyrics literally describe how some rich politicians avoid their taxes so they won’t have to be registered to go to war. Now this would be a great song for an average guy running for president with the platform “Down to big brother.” Unsurprisingly, John Kerry happens to be a man with more than a few dollars up his sport coat sleeve. As of 2016 his minimum net worth is almost 200 million dollars. So in short, another bad choice.
Clinton ’08 – “You and I” Celine Dion
Love songs are not good for a campaign. This makes me think about a cheesy coming of age movie that claims to be Mean Girls but in reality is the biggest flop in theaters and ends up going for $0.99 on demand. It does not make me think of a strong woman president, as Hillary claimed it did at the time. This is a cute song but, honestly, it doesn’t set the tone for a good campaign. And even more disappointing, Celine Dion is Canadian.
Trump 2016 – “The Snake”
Honestly I don’t even know where to begin. I just listened to this song while writing this article so it’s the first time I have heard it. This song is about a woman who sees a dying snake on the ground. She picks it up and nurses it back to health in her home. After the snake is fully healed, the woman is so happy so she hugs the snake and the snake bites her. When she asks it why it bit her, it just said “Foolish woman, I am still a snake.” So basically this is a song about how silly and stupid women are. I am just putting this out there, but I feel like a discriminatory song symbolically representing yourself as a snake is not the brightest idea while trying to get people to vote for you. But the man made it this far somehow, so I could be wrong.