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Can You Decode a Presidential Candidate’s Values and Target Audience Based on Rally Music?

Clint, Texas / USA - 29 June 2019 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Clint, Texas, where migrant children are beng held. - Image

The New York Times wrote an article in August decoding Democratic presidential candidates’ personality types based on the song selections at their campaign rallies. It’s a thought-provoking and unique analysis that could give voters insight on the candidates’ personal and political values, and even interesting enough, their target audiences.

Let’s take former Secretary of Housing JulĂ­an Castro, the only Latinx running for presidency in this highly contested race. NYT has tracked his rally music, which includes “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco, “LatinoamĂ©rica” by Calle 13, “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johny Cash, “Mi Tierra” by Gloria Estefan, “Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Baila Esta Cumbia” by Selena.

Of all candidates so far, only Castro’s music features songs by Latinx artists. His rallies further appeal to the minority and Latinx demographic as indicated by his use of “Baila Esta Cumbia” for his walk up song.

Meanwhile, don’t be fooled by old age. Senator Bernie Sanders‘s appeal to the younger demographic can be shown through his walk up song of choice, “Brooklyn Go Hard” by Jay-Z. His rally playlist includes a diverse range of genres, including artists like Simon and Garfunkle, Muse, Steve Jeffries, and John Lennon (to name a few), but it’s hard to miss the fact that only one singer in the entire list, Against Me!, is female.

Senator Elizabeth Warren‘s unrelenting stance in politics is backed by a music playlist featuring music mostly from the older generation, including “Respect” by Arethra Franklin, “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys, and “Vogue” by Madonna. It’s clear her target audiences are working class voters, as shown through her use of “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, “Under Pressure” by Queen, and “We Take Care of Our Own” by Bruce Springsteen.

If you want to learn more about what The New York Times deduced about other candidates based on their selection of campaign music, click here.

For an abbreviated list of entrance music used by Democratic presidential candidates for the 2020 election, see below!

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Vivian Wang

Vivian is a travel enthusiast and food connoisseur living in New York City whose curiosity and passion for languages and culture has taken her across eight countries over the past year. When not writing, she can be found snacking on street food or wandering in a museum.

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