political song competition

 

Last year, because the pandemic made us so miserable, I ran a political song competition in my Introduction to Comparative Politics and Contemporary African Politics courses. The rules for the competition were as follows:

Entry Rules

  • Only songs designed to persuade people to adopt different political behavior are allowed.

  • Songs have to be sponsored by a political entity and not the work of some already established musician.

Voting & Selection Rules

  • Every student votes once for the one song they like best.

  • Two prizes will be awarded.  The entries with the least and the most votes will receive prizes.

  • If there are ties in either category, a winner will be chosen randomly. 

prior entries

Introduction to Comparative Politics Fall 2020

  • "La Cumbia de Neto": Meet Neto Bran, known for his looks and dressing up as different workers. He ran for and won the mayoral office of Mixco, Guatemala in 2019.

  • "John Kennedy - Campaign Song": The campaign song for the U.S. presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, 1960.

  • "Хонхны дуу/Honhnii duu/Sound of a Bell": This Mongolian song calls for people to 'wake up' from the 'nightmare' of the Soviet regime 'that chokes the voice and blinds the eyes' to embrace democracy and freedom. This was sung during protests in 1990 and has been played for every democratic party rally for every election year since.

  • "L'estaca": In this song from Spain, l'estaca (the stake) is a metaphor for Franco's dictatorship. An old man explains to a young boy that they are tied to a stake but that if they all pull together they will liberate themselves. It was sung during the first democratic elections of 1977 and is still being used by Catalan separatists against the Spanish central government.

  • "If You're Gonna Run in Texas": A song used in Ted Cruz's 2018 Senate campaign.

  • "Real Women Vote Trump": A song sung during the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign for Donald Trump. The song criticises liberals and encourages people to vote for Trump. The song was taken over by younger generations (GenZ and Millenials).

  • "Menomale che Silvio c’è": The official soundtrack for the 2008 Election Campaign of Silvio Berlusconi’s political party, Forza Italia.

  • "Namo Namo - Youth Anthem": The youth anthem for Narendra Modi's 2014 Prime Ministerial campaign in India.

  • "National Country Party, 1982": A 1982 advertisement for national party elections in Australia.

  • "What's in My Cup (Stays in My Cup)": A Guyanese song for the Presidency and Vice Presidency of Donald Ramotar and Bharrat Jagdeo during the 2015 PPP/C vs APNU elections. 

  • "Chile, La Alegria Ya Viene/Happiness is Coming!": A song created by the 'No' side of the 1988 Chilean national plebiscite referendum who wanted to vote out Pinochet, the military dictator of 15+ years. Rather than focusing on the negatives, the message of joy and hope inspired Chileans that democracy was possible.

  • "João do Biscoito & Frozen (John's cookie)": This Brazilian song for a 2016 City Council election is a parody of the popular Disney song "Let It Go". The lyrics present the candidate's voting number and talk about how he deserves the position. 

Contemporary African Politics Fall 2020

  • "Mahama Onaapo": A song from John Mahama's 2016 presidential campaign in Ghana.

  • "MKO Abiola": A song from the 1993  Nigerian presidential elections for candidate Moshood Abiola.

  • "Better": On November 11, 2018, Banky W declared his intention to run for the Lagos’ Eti-Osa Federal Constituency seat in Nigeria’s House of Representatives, representing the platform of the Modern Democratic Party (MDP) formed in 2017.

  • "Bag of Rice": A song used by the Take It Back movement (from the party AAC supporting Sowore) during Nigeria's 2019 presidential elections. The song warns Nigerians to not traffic their voter cards (PVC) for, for example, a bag of rice.

  • "Azania": This song is a patriotic song for "Azania" - which according to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is the original name for South Africa. The term Azania is also sometimes preferred by pan-Africanists generally.

  • "Tanzania Ya Sasa": Translated as “Today’s Tanzania", this song extols the successes of Magufuli during his first five years in power.

  • "Thank You Kagame": From the 2017 presidential elections in Rwanda with Kagame as the RPF candidate, this song is about Kagame's achievements, from stopping the genocide in 1994 to other development projects. The special emphasis is on unity and reconciliation programs, wherein the song Kagame is credited for "bringing Rwandans together" and "giving them back their country". As a reference to the 2017 elections, one part of the song addressing Kagame goes, "Don't worry, Rwandans know what you have done, you are capable. Thank you."