Music helping shape the 2020 election

Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Music has been used by politicians for generations.

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

“Political strategists realized they could rely on existing popular music that would embody some of the values,” Loren Kajikawa, Associate Professor of Music says.

Kajikawa studies the musical soundtrack for candidates throughout history and says music being used to help politicians dates as far back as the 1800s.

“It goes back really to the 1840s with music being used, you know the writing of original campaign songs to support and promote and sort of get a catchy tune in people’s ear,” Kajikawa said.

Now artists from Tom Petty to Stevie Wonder are featured by candidates hoping to form an emotional bond between voters.

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

From Elizabeth Warren using Dolly Parton’s hit 9 to 5 to Beto O’Rourke’s love for punk rock.

Kajikawa says the one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the strategy behind it all as music remains an unwavering part of American campaigns.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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