The field of Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 is starting to look like a Royal Rumble, so it's only appropriate that the vast field of hopefuls selected walkout music for their appearance in Iowa that was as hype and pumped up as the start of Monday Night RAW.
With so many contenders at this stage, they seem to be competing to have the coolest entrance song. While it may not be the best criteria to judge the potential future leader of the free world, here's how the field of contenders stacks up based solely on their choice of walkout music.
20. Joe Biden: Nothing
Biden didn't appear at the event, which either puts him at the top or the bottom of the list depending on which way you look at it. You could see it as the ultimate power move to not have a walkout song or indeed to not walk out at all. Or you could see it as a way to end up 20th out of 20 in some arbitrary ranking.
19. Tim Ryan: "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X
There's no bigger dad power move than latching onto something "the kids" are into and making it instantly uncool. You can almost hear him saying "Little Nas X" like your dad, can't you? Tim Ryan's walkout song is so blatantly pandering I almost respect it. I said almost.
18. Bill de Blasio: "Rudie Can't Fail" by The Clash
I know de Blasio's a big fan of The Clash — though he may not be the biggest Joe Strummer fan in the race — but let me tell you why this is a horrible song choice. As the current mayor of NYC, it seems a little bit short-sighted to have your walkout to a chorus exclaiming that a former NYC mayor (and current attorney for the president) can't fail.
17. Eric Swalwell: "Caught Up in the Country" by Rodney Atkins
Swalwell's song is a clear attempt to shed the "Coastal Elite" stereotype that comes from being a Democrat from the state of California. To his credit, California produces the most food in the U.S. and Swalwell represents a large swath of the state's farmland. But still — obvious pandering to the rural vote is only slightly more desperate than pandering to the youth vote. Also, are we just going to overlook the verse where Lil Nas X sings about drinking lean (AKA drank) and cheating on his significant other?
16. Andrew Yang: "Return of the Mack" by Mark Morrison
If I was ranking these songs based on how much I like them, Yang would be in the Top 5. This song is and always has been a bop. Is it a good walkout song for a politician? Well, it's a song about recovering from being cheated on, so I'll let you decide.
15. John Hickenlooper: "Good Life" by OneRepublic
Points for picking something uplifting, but it's also overproduced, overplayed, and forgettable except for that whistling part. Thankfully, Hickenlooper won't be in the race long because this one would get old very fast.
14. Steve Bullock: "Small Town" by John Mellencamp
At least Bullock can pander to the rural vote with a bit more cred, being from Montana. IDK, the song's fine, but it doesn't get me pumped. It's innocuous. You might sing along to it in the grocery store or car, but it's certainly not going to get you amped to vote for someone.
13. John Delaney: "I've Been Everywhere" by Johnny Cash
John Delaney's song rattling off all the places he's been reads like someone who's already run ragged by the campaign trail. If you're already bragging about all the towns you've stumped in so far, I'm not confident you have the stamina for this race, son. There's 15 more months left in this campaign!
12. Michael Bennet: "The Rising" by Bruce Springsteen
Here's another song that sounds more tired than ready to come out swinging. "Can't see nothing in front of me, can't see nothing coming up behind"? What about "lost track of how far I've gone, how high I've climbed, on my back's a 60-pound stone, on my shoulder a half-mile line"? I'm exhausted just reading those lyrics. You sound tired, Michael. Why don't you go have a nap?
11. Tulsi Gabbard: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Gabbard's song choice shows she clearly knows she's got an uphill battle. Because that mountain is very very high, but I admire her confidence that nothing can keep her from the nomination. She's also communicating to voters that they can count on her to come through for them, but there's just a slight whiff of desperation.
10. Pete Buttigieg: "Never Giving Up" by Batchelor
Like Mayor Pete himself, it's an artist you've probably never heard of until recently, but there's just something you like about that song. It has a kind of nerdy swagger. You can't really figure out why you like it, and chances are good you'll be over it by next November, but you're really digging it right now.
9. Jay Inslee: "Mr. Blue Sky" by ELO
Along with playing well with his climate-focused platform, the song this beloved governor of Washington state chose for his entrance is as plucky and optimistic as he is. Sadly, that plucky optimism is probably the biggest reason he doesn't stand a chance at winning.
8. Marianne Williamson: "Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder
The spiritual nature of Stevie Wonder's hit song is an apt choice for Marianne, whose background is not primarily in politics but in writings on spirituality. Great song, but if she's gonna keep on trying til she reaches her highest ground in this election, it's going to be several cycles before she's a contender.
7. Cory Booker: "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers
It's classic, groovy, and upbeat, and it appeals to pretty much all ages. Even though Bill Withers came out with the song in the '70s, he's revered even among newer, hipper artists, and the timeless hook has been sampled by many hip hop artists. Few songs could have such universal appeal.
6. Kirsten Gillibrand: "Good as Hell" by Lizzo
Yes, this is 100 percent pandering and yes it's a song about recovering from a breakup, so I'm completely contradicting myself in ranking this one high after downvoting other walkout songs for exactly those reasons. But those other songs weren't Lizzo. Sorry, I don't make the rules. OK, yeah — I literally do make the rules because this ranking is based on my own opinions. Still... my hands are tied.
5. Bernie Sanders: "Power to the People" by John Lennon
Super on-brand for Sanders. It captures the spirit of his message and his whole Vermont hippie vibe. Plus, it also captures his spirit of "why fix what ain't broke," since he's been using it since 2016. Sanders never changes up his clothes, why would he change his campaign fight song?
4. Kamala Harris: "Work That" by Mary J. Blige
Harris' walk-out song is full of swagger and black women's empowerment. It's actually as appropriate for the Octagon as it is before a stump speech. Solid choice, Senator.
3. Beto O'Rourke: "Clampdown" by The Clash
O'Rourke chose a deeper cut than fellow Clash fan de Blasio, and the lyrics sell a better message to potential voters. It's a song encouraging youth to rise up against the status quo to fight fascism and oppression.
2. Elizabeth Warren: "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton
Is it the coolest song on the list? No. But it's about getting stuff done, which is synonymous with a candidate who has a detailed policy paper on literally any issue you can think of. It also sums up a lot of her message about how hard Americans are working and struggling to get by. It's a solid way to tie her hardworking spirit to her platform based on education, labor, and restoring the middle class.
1. Amy Klobuchar: "The Bullpen" by Dessa
Lyrically, Klobuchar's choice is one of the stronger ones. It's tells an inspiring story of a woman in a man's world who refuses to make herself small so powerful guys can feel bigger. It's the anthem of a woman who's not about to go down without swinging.
"I hope that your battery's charged, cuz I found this here ladder, now your ceilings don't matter, check me out, now I got glass floors." Whoever on the campaign suggested that song deserves a promotion.
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