“You can’t always get what you want; but if you try sometimes; well you just might find; you get what you need.” – Jagger, Richards
Great tune, but does it work as an uplifting campaign-theme song?
The author of Almost DailyBrett used to snicker at the thought of a blushing bride choosing this song for the first dance with her new groom: You can’t always get what you want (in grooms) … (but hopefully) you get what you need.
For the same reason, one must wonder why the Donald Trump campaign chose “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as one of the musical closers of the quadrennial Republican National Convention last July in Cleveland?
The first song following The Donald’s dystopian acceptance speech was “All Right Now” by The Free, which makes sense. That is not the case with the next song, the Rolling Stones classic, “You Can’t Get What You Want.”
After dispatching 17 other Republican presidential aspirants in the primaries and caucuses was Donald Trump all the GOP needed?
The same applies to using the very same Rolling Stones song immediately following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory tour speech last week in Cincinnati.
The music has been purchased and is being played in a public place, so the Trump campaign does not owe the Stones a shekel for their song and is offering zero apologies.
Okay now that we have that dispute (un)settled, let’s access from a public relations standpoint how songs can or cannot serve as metaphors for advocacy.
Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
Some campaigns have trouble coming up with consistent themes. If identifying an appropriate mantra is a problem (and that was the case for Hillary Clinton), then finding a related song which resonates with the public and the times is doubly tough.
One of the most successful efforts was the use of “Happy Days Are Here Again” by FDR at the Democratic convention during the height of the Depression in 1932.
Sixty years later, Arkansas Governor (and Hillary’s hubby) played Fleetwood Mac’s futuristic “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” to offer a dramatic contrast to President George H.W. Bush’s tired administration.
Eight years later, the campaign of Texas Governor George W. Bush employed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and The Who’s anthem “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in direct defiance to the Clinton-Gore machine.
Even though the appropriateness of songs is not the most serious subject ever pondered by Almost DailyBrett, they still must be consistent with the overall thrust of a presidential campaign.
Even though this author scratches his follicly challenged scalp when contemplating Trump using a song that expresses the frustration of blowing an amplifier fuse, the real issue is whether Republicans are saying to the nation that you can’t get what you want, but Trump is what you need?
For some reason, the song is working at least among those in the hinterlands who have been searching for a champion and not finding her or him in Washington, D.C.
Can any of these “poorly educated” folks as Trump lovingly described them, name any of the four members of the Rolling Stones, much less identify with the lyrics of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”?
Does it matter?