A mere 496 days until the U.S. presidential election in 2020, the first debate for the top 20 Democratic candidates kicks off in Miami over two days: June 26th and 27th.
Political zingers and gaffes aside, we — meaning all potential voters — want to be able to relate to a candidate, whether it’s about domestic policy including immigration, the local economy, gun control, international trade, or following the national party line, voter identification is uniquely personal.
Now if you’re of a certain age, you’ll vaguely recall the 1983 one-hit wonder, The Politics of Dancing by the British band, Re-Flex with the prescient lyrics:
“We got the message
I heard it on the airwaves
Are now DJs
The broadcast was spreading
Station to station
Like an infection
Across the nation
Though you know you can’t stop it
When they start to play
You’re gonna get out the way”
Ever since U.S. President Obama put out a Spotify playlist in 2012 with songs you can play at a bbq or in the bedroom, music is now an intrinsic part of any U.S. presidential campaign strategy.
For more about how music impacts the voter psyche, here’s my latest story for Billboard.
Are you going to vote for someone just because they put together an amazing playlist? No. Might you be persuaded to give them a second look? Maybe.
While most people dismiss the idea that music creates a nuanced bias when selecting a presidential candidate, Mike Wolf, a registered voter in New York, acknowledges the connection.
“We would all love to believe that we base our voting decisions purely based on policies, qualifications and logic,” Wolf says. “But we all know that personality and individual charisma has a huge effect on elections, and music is hugely visceral. Am I going to change my vote to Trump just because he busts out a Jonathan Richman record? Of course not. But when I’m choosing among primary candidates, I’d be lying to myself if I thought that music played at rallies didn’t have a subconscious effect.”
Written while listening to my playlist.