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Meghan Mahar

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To every thing there is a season, and to every campaign there is an anthem.  In every election, presidential candidates select songs that capture the spirit of their campaign. Take a look back in time at songs used by past candidates and see how they were received by the public: 

 

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, Hillary Clinton 

Clinton’s staff defends this track as a powerful anthem, yet Twitter users and those who attended the Democratic National Convention attacked its use for being “too boring”. 

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones, Donald Trump 

Trump closed the Republican National Convention with this hit, but did not seek permission from The Rolling Stones prior, leading to backlash on Twitter. 

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder, Barack Obama 

Stevie Wonder promoted use of his song by performing on the final night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In 2016, the song was played after Obama’s DNC speech. 

“I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, George W. Bush 

Bush used Petty’s song during his 2000 campaign, but Petty did not want to be associated with the candidate and sent a cease and desist letter. 

“Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac, Bill Clinton 

Fleetwood Mac reunited to perform “Don’t Stop” at Clinton’s inaugural ball in 1993. 

“This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie, George H. W. Bush 

Entertainment studio JibJab uploaded a video of Bush and John Kerry singing this song. The video went viral and has over 3.7 million views. 

“California, Here I Come” by Al Jolson, Ronald Reagan 

Reagan’s use of “California, Here I Come” permanently tied him to the state. Word play using this song title has been used referring to the 2016 GOP candidates in their struggle to gain support on the West Coast. 

“I’m Feeling Good About America” by Oscar Brand, Gerald Ford 

Ford chose this song in the 1976 against Jimmy Cater after the Watergate scandal in order to assure Americans that the country was still in good hands. 

“Beautiful Day” by U2, John Kerry 

Kerry competed with George W. Bush for the Democratic nomination. Even though U2 is popular in the U.S. (and pretty much everywhere else), Kerry was still criticized for not choosing a song by an American artist.  

“Take A Chance On Me” by ABBA, John McCain 

McCain was openly criticized by many for his love of ABBA, claiming that his favorite song is “Dancing Queen”. His love for the group carried into his campaign in 2008. 

 

Meghan Mahar, Entertainment Editor

Meghan is a sophomore pursuing two degrees in Marketing and Business Management. She is a member and Alumnae Committee Chair of Phi Sigma Sigma at the...

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