Every Presidential Campaign Song Is Terrible

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders compete for the title of best original song of the 2016 election. It’s not pretty.

January 19, 2016
Every Presidential Campaign Song Is Terrible Scott Olson / Getty Images

Last week, "The Official Donald Trump Jam"—a strangely alluring pre-teen synth-pop nightmare—came into our lives. Was it official? Hard to say, actually. Was it a jam? Unequivocally, and unfortunately, yes. Inspired, we set out to rank 10 bizarre candidate-inspired, and sometimes candidate-featuring, bangers of this godforsaken 2016 election cycle.

10. Martin O'Malley

Martin O'Malley has been playing in a Celtic rock band named after himself since 1988. They have at least four albums. Yet watching this ode to American grit in War of 1812, you might picture yourself not in the crowd but onstage, mid-debate: “Senator, I served with the Dropkick Murphies. I knew the Dropkick Murphies. The Dropkick Murphies were friends of mine.” Long pause, and a drag on a menthol. “Senator, you’re no Dropkick Murphies.” Wild cheers, as you're carried out on the shoulders of millions.

9. Ben Carson

This official radio ad aired in eight states and cost $150,000, but it's still a shoddy imitation of Boot Camp Clik with with way lazier rhymes: Vote and support Ben Carson /for our next president, it’d be awesome. And yet—that unsettling-synth-flute sample—kind of hard???

8. Hillary Clinton

This tribute song is the musical version of Hillary Clinton telling the New York Times that her favorite book is the bible—it’s a nice gesture, sure, but completely unbelievable. The smiling cowboy casts Hillary as a Girl In A Country Song and rhymes “great lady” with “first lady.” It’s trite, and Hil deserves better.

7. Jeb Bush

In this weird ad, a Jeb super PAC throws shots at Marco Rubio, the former governor's one-time disciple, via Nancy Sinatra and Rubio’s semi-fancy boots. There’s even a Rubio stand-in, shown only from the waist down, happily—nay, aggressively—carousing to and fro. It's Lynchian in execution, and mesmerizing.

6. John Kasich

If you've never actually heard of John Kasich, presidential candidate, you are not alone—he's polling at right around 3 percent. But please do take one good listen to this fellow "Jumpin" Joe Matsko's song about John Kasich, presidential candidate. And be forewarned: this shit is jaunty as fuck, and one listen might just be enough to leave loving John Kasich, presidential candidate.

5. Rick Santorum

Isn’t it tiiiiime—to taaaake baaaack Americaaaaaa!!! This Santorum joint is deceptively cheery-sounding for a song that could also be about a mass armed insurrection against the government. Isn’t it tiiiiime—to unleeaaaaash the priiiiiide!

4. Rand Paul

We the people of Kentucky have a heart that beats true/ We’re proud of our basketball.

This checks out.

3. Ted Cruz

Christian rapper Jük extols the conservative values of the Texas senator over a beat that’s vaguely reminiscent of the fire remix to the Barefoot Contessa theme song. It’s actually the first part of a trio of songs—he also raps in a glass elevator in a dress shirt, and later gets acoustic.

2. Bernie Sanders

All the Jewish kids from the outer boroughs know that this one is super real. A voice was chanting as the fog was lifting, indeed. That voice was Bernie’s, recorded back in 1984, and it is as Brooklyn as possible. Amen.

1. Donald J. Trump

Every megalomaniac needs a theme song, and last week Donald Trump finally got one of his own, courtesy of The Freedom Girls, a trio of spunky little Floridians. It sounds like Shirley Temple singing from the depths of a bad comment section. It’s been stuck in our heads for a week straight, and it doesn’t show any sign of leaving. Cowardiiiice/ Awwe you sewwious??

Every Presidential Campaign Song Is Terrible