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Let's Judge the Democratic Presidential Candidates Based on their Campaign Songs

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | June 10, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | June 10, 2019 |


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Kayleigh dropped this into our Slack today, and it generated a lot more conversation that I might have expected. It’s a fairly interesting look into the brand of a candidate, or at least what they want you to perceive is their brand.

A few quick observations. TK thought Klobuchar’s choice of Dessa was perfect given her popularity in Minnesota. Kamala choosing Mary J. Blige was totally on point, as was Elizabeth Warren’s pick of “9 to 5,” which really does epitomize her campaign: A woman busting her ass for Jane Sixpack.

I had to look up Mayor Pete’s, just because I didn’t recognize the name, but I know the song well. It’s ill-fitting, and if Mayor Pete wants to be the seven-language candidate he should choose accordingly, something like “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quittes Pas)” by Regina Spektor.

O’Rourke can adequately pull off The Clash. Bill de Blasio absolutely cannot (and how does he not think that song won’t recall one of his predecessors, Rudy Guiliani?)

If anyone can lay claim to ELO’s “Blue Sky,” it is Inslee. Like him or not, that’s a great choice. Likewise, I couldn’t pick Governor Bullock out of a lineup, but if you asked me which guy picked Mellencamp from a lineup of candidate photos, I’d immediately correctly guess this guy:

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The only version of a Springsteen song this guy deserves is one performed by Kidz Bop.

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“Good as Hell” is a bit of a reach for Gillibrand, and — no offense — but “Return of the Mack” is wasted on Andrew Yang. “Caught Up in the Country” for Swalwell? Isn’t he from California?

But honestly, the most ill-fitting choice? This guy (Tim Ryan) picking “Old Town Road.”

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Come on, dude.



Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.


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