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When Running For President, Music Matters: A History Of Campaign Trail Tunes

Raul Luna CC0: http://bit.ly/2XolAVo

Throughout the history of U.S. politics, music has been used as a rallying cry, a unifying message and most potently, a call-to-arms for voters. Essentially, presidential campaign songs are the commercial jingles for the most important product being sold to the American public.

Campaign songs have long been the cornerstone of American politics. They extolled the wondrous virtues of each candidate and warned of the terrible consequences if he wasn’t elected.

Today, candidates borrow their campaign theme songs from pop music – sometimes without permission, often leading to disastrous results.

On this episode we explore the history of music on the campaign trail. How has music benefitted presidential candidates? Which songs have been detrimental? How has music impacted the vote?

In this upcoming presidential election what should voters look for and be wary of when it comes to campaign music?

Guest: Eric Kasper, associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and co-editor of "You Shook Me All Campaign Long: Music in the 2016 Presidential Election and Beyond"

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource. 


*This interview was pre-recorded and aired Thursday, July 4. 


David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi