Politics of the Walk-up Song

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Memorable jingles have helped lead candidate after candidate into the White House

FILE – In this Aug. 15, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign event in Fairfield, Iowa. Buttigieg is making a faith-based appeal to Democratic voters as he tries to demonstrate his party’s religiosity. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Some think political rally songs are becoming as much a part of the presidential campaign as the speech.

Music can change a campaign rally. Music has been used by politicians for generations.

Loren Kajikawa, associate professor of music at George Washington University said, “It goes back really to the 1840’s with music being used… writing of original campaign songs to support and promote and sort of get a catchy tune in people’s ear.”

Kajikawa studys the musical soundtrack for candidates throughout history at George Washington University in D.C

Memorable jingles helped lead candidate after candidate into the White House, but as Americans music tastes changed…so did the campaign soundtrack.

From Elizabeth Warren using Dolly Parton’s hit 9 to 5…. to Beto O’Rourke’s love for punk rock, 2020 Democratic candidates’ playlists are unique as ever.

“Music, especially popular music in the United States…is kind of an index of identity,” Kajikawa said.



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