Now that Donald Trump has entered the race for president, the Republican clown car of candidates may need to be upgraded to a bus. The real estate mogul’s announcement of his candidacy last week was soundtrack by Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” without the blessing of the artist. Young predictably took offense, declaring in a statement: “I make my music for people, not for candidates.”
This isn’t the first time a Republican candidate's use of an artist's music has ruffled feathers. Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, and even Bobby McFerrin have all taken issue with presidential hopefuls playing their songs at rallies or in campaign ads in the past.
So, it seems Trump is going to have to rifle through his record collection to find alternatives for his campaign. Here are a few ideas…
Blowing in the Wind – Bob Dylan
The appearance of having great hair has been synonymous with great leaders. When Delilah cut Samson’s ’do, he lost all his strength and power. France’s Louis XIV wore a wig of such bulbous proportions that it helped give him the appearance that he was 7 feet tall and underscored his divine credentials. Our own president, Andrew Jackson, possessed a mane of such luxurious quality that it should be on the $100 bill, not the 20.
Donald Trump’s coiffure is an entirely different animal, though exactly what kind of animal it is has been a cause of much debate over the years. It will be interesting to see how it fairs with the cold blasts of New Hampshire’s winds or deboarding his campaign jet in Iowa. The prospects are encouraging.
Any number of tunes could have fit here… the great spiritual “We Shall Overcomb,” the Beatles’ gem, “Hair There & Everywhere," the Stones lyric, “I used to love her, but it’s comb over now…” The R.E.M. tune “Orange Crush” could be applied to both his hair and complexion. However, let’s go with Dylan's era-defining classic “Blowing in the Wind,” a rallying cry for change and a reminder for Trump before photo ops.
Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
To some, Trump is a bloviating ignoramus. To others, he is the epitome of the American Dream. The word “Trump” is synonymous with a uniquely American style of success – though in the U.K., “trump” is a euphemism for a loud fart. Draw what connection you can between that and "The Donald."
It is continually believed by many of his disciples that Trump is some kind of “Ragged Dick” Horatio Alger success story, where, against the odds, believers in big ideas can become kings of capitalism. However, it is impossible to ignore that Trump was blessed with having money in the family. Donald Trump, as he would likely readily admit, is a “Fortune Son” of both his father and his country (though he might take issue with the rest of the song).
Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) – Pink Floyd
The refrain “We don’t need no education” brings us to Trump’s policy on the issue. Trump has promised to slash spending on education, citing that America spends more money on it per capita than any other country in the world. He hates Common Core as much as he loves tangerine spray tans, criticizing Jeb Bush’s support for the controversial standards as reason alone not to vote for the guy.
And then, there’s the wall. Trump has promised to build a wall across the Mexican border to keep out “drugs" and "rapists” and make the Mexican government pay for it. One might think this was his first brain fart, but the sincerity of the sneer as he said it suggests otherwise. We can guess, then, that he’s not counting on the Latino vote and that Mexico might not send a representative to Trump’s next Miss Universe pageant.
Bertha Butt Boogie – Jimmy Castor
On April 27, 2011, the White House released Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate in an effort to finally end what the president called "carnival barkers" and get back to the real business of the presidency. Later that week, the administration did just that, overseeing the killing of Osama Bin Laden, architect of 9/11.
Trump had been the most bellicose of the Birther Movement and, undeterred, continued haranguing Obama to release his Harvard College transcript. The president has yet to be forthcoming.
The lesson here then is that Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination should watch their butts. Ted Cruz was definitely not born in this country (he was born in Canada), and to some, it is questionable whether Rick Perry graduated grade school.
Nellie the Elephant
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Finding a song with the word “trump” in the lyrics is difficult – this children’s song of a fictional intelligent elephant being the only one that springs to mind. However, there are other connections – the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party, and the titular character resides in a circus – a metaphor for what next year’s primaries are likely to become.
Anyway, play this simultaneously with Trump’s announcement speech from the other day. The effect is similar to that of watching The Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon on.
Whether Trump’s entry into the race enriches or stifles the level of debate in this election, only time will tell. Whatever the case, it has definitely gotten a lot more interesting and a hell of a lot louder.