The approximately 847 Democrats who would like to be their party’s nominee to take on President Trump in 2020 were trying to distinguish themselves in Iowa this weekend. One way they’re expressing their personalities and personal brands? Music.
The wannabe candidates each picked a walk-up song to play when they took the stage at Sunday’s traditional Iowa Hall of Fame Celebration, and it seems that there’s a front-runner emerging — not among the pols, but at least among their chosen musical acts. Surprisingly, the Clash is leading the pack, with two of 19 candidates selecting songs from the British band’s 1979 album “London Calling.”
No other musical act was chosen by more than one candidate, per the list of walk-up music helpfully posted to Twitter by Time’s Lissandra Villa. (Which means the Clash is polling above 10 percent, a better performance than all but four Democratic candidates in the field. Just saying.) New York Mayor Bill de Blasio picked “Rudie Can’t Fail,” while former congressman Beto O’Rourke (Tex.) opted for “Clampdown.” So what’s the appeal among the pols of a 40-year-old album by U.K. punk rockers? Maybe it’s the ethos of working-class angst and status-quo-smashing? Maybe they just think they’re a good bop.
Other candidates’ choices were similarly on-brand: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) went for Dolly Parton’s workingwoman anthem “9 to 5,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) continued her tradition of cranking rapper Lizzo’s “Good As Hell” at campaign events, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) opted for John Lennon’s “Power to the People.”
One selection from the virtual jukebox was more inexplicable: Andrew Yang (who?) picked the mid-'90s R&B jam “Return of the Mack” (huh?). Maybe the long shot was sending a message about the place he thinks he should hold in the crowded slate of contenders — after all, one online ode to the overlooked Mark Morrison earworm bears the headline “ ‘Return of The Mack’ Is The Best Song Ever That Nobody Acknowledges Is The Best Song Ever."