Do presidential endorsements matter in an election?

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by Marites Woodbury

A lot of political or anti-political campaigns in the past fronted by musicians in hopes of making a difference in voters’ minds. If you are quite sure what qualifies as an “anti-political” campaign, it would be good to explain here.

One musician, “Fat Mike” of NOFX,

went as far as creating a music campaign of titled “Rock Against Bush.” Make sure to review use of quote marks. This campaign was inspired by the 1980s revolt titled “Rock Against Reagan.” “Rock Against Bush” included a series of live concerts and compilation CDs all with the main purpose of encouraging people to register to vote and to then vote against Bush. Other bands involved in this campaign included: Green Day, Sum 41, The Offspring, Rise Against, No Doubt, and many more.

Green Day, a punk rock band based out of California, has never been known for holding back their opinions, especially on politics.

In 2004, their album “American Idiot” was released right before the election in hopes that it might swing votes away from Bush. Green Day’s music video for their song “Holiday” also held strong political views and made it to Billboard’s Top 100 songs of the year in 2005.

Today, “Rock The Vote” is the campaign of interest. This campaign encourages young people to register to vote and have their voices heard, whatever they may be. This campaign is endorsed by musicians and actors, including: Justin Timberlake, Robert Downey Jr., Janet Jackson, and The Ramones.

Music promoter Kaity Davie of New York based company The Syndicate said that she sees how impressionable people are with their favorite musicians every day.

“I make a living based on whether or not people value musicians’ opinions,” said Kaity Davie. “When we promote an artist, we have to ‘sell’ them. We have to make others fall in love with them in every way we can. We associate them with acts they might have worked with in the past, are planning on working with and so forth. It’s kind of similar to what goes on in the election. It’s all about who you know and who endorses who. I could definitely see it affecting someone’s vote; people are impressionable.”

Long time Ted Nugent supporter Paul Williams said he is voting for Romney because he feels Nugent has his best interests in mind.

“Ted Nugent likes all the same things I do and does a lot of the same things I do,” said Williams. “If it’s good for him then it’s good for me, too.”

There has also been rage against politicians who have used songs in their campaign events without the artist’s permission, especially if it’s for the other side.

Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine made it very clear when Paul Ryan said that Rage Against the Machine was one of his favorite bands, the adoration was one-sided.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Morello said, “Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.”

In 2010, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist used “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads in an ad campaign without permission. Talking Heads frontman David Byrne made his outrage apparent by threatening to sue. Crist later made a public apology to Byrne in an attempt to make amends.

Rock band Silversun Pickups asked Romney to stop using their hit song ‘Panic Switch’ at political events because they did not want to be associated with their campaign.

There are, however, many artists who openly endorse this year’s presidential candidates.

Lady Gaga, Cher, Katy Perry, Red Hot Chili Peppers and many others all openly support Obama, while Romney has the support of Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Kid Rock and many others.

Does it matter in the end? Some have admitted yes, but some still say no.

Michigan State University radio host Kyle Pacynski said that no matter how much he may love a band, they will never have any weight on who he votes for.

“Personally, whether or not my favorite band supports my presidential candidate has no effect on whether or not I’ll vote for them,” said Pacynski.

“But, I have seen it affect many of the people I know, which I find unsettling to say the least. You should vote on issues that directly matter to you based on how they directly affect you, not based on what someone else says, no matter how much you might idolize and respect them.”

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