The defining narrative of American politics since the turn of the millennium seems to be that 'We the people' are screwed no matter who gets elected. Elect a Republican: We engage in pre-emptive war, the national deficit skyrockets, and we sacrifice education and infrastructure investment. Elect a Democrat hoping things will get better: Stay at war, and public dollars are doled out to the private sector at the expense of education and infrastructure investment. So if it there's no meaningful difference between the parties anymore, then maybe it's time for us to vote as music fans rather than partisans, making our decisions based on the musical merits and ideological inclinations of our favorite artists.
Maybe then the 2012 election can be a proxy vote about who shreds hardest on guitar rather than the endless hemming and hawing of professional politicians who make sweeping, meaningless statements in an effort to convince voters that "freedom" isn't being subsumed by post-Patriot Act-emboldened federal agencies, and that "free markets" work better when taxpayers foot the bill for failing private companies who find it beyond their scope to support the public interest in return.
Maybe then, instead of an endless string of hollow debates, we can just have a battle of the bands where the winners decide who should be in charge for four years. Here's a list that will help you decide who to vote for in this year's election based on the musical chops of party supporters. "If you like ________, then you should vote __________." Tally your score, and stop worrying about politics for the rest of the election cycle.
The Dixie Chicks - Democrat: The seemingly demur country stars took an overt turn for the political back in 2003 when they criticized Dubya about his plans, or lack thereof, for the war in Iraq. They paid the price, too, taking a lot of heat from fans, but they've stayed involved with lefty initiatives like the environment.
Kid Rock - Republican: Kid Rock offered Romney's campaign use of his song "Born Free" and appeared with the candidate while he was courting Michigan voters in advance of the Super Tuesday primary vote. They're probably in the same tax bracket.
LL Cool J - Independent: LL's got friends on both sides of the aisle. The rapper was a longtime Republican (tax cuts for the rich), but then was disillusioned by the Bush years, documented in his tune "Mr. President". He's supported Dems since, but who's to say the right candidate couldn't pull him back to a Red State of mind?
Sam Moore - Independent: The first half of soul icons Sam and Dave, Moore wrote a letter to then-Senator Obama in 2008 and asked that he please stop using "Hold On, I'm Coming" on the campaign trail because Moore hadn't personally endorsed Obama, and wouldn't publicly because who he voted for was a private decision.
Dave Mustaine - Republican: Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine was the subject of political ire during the crusades against heavy metal during the 80s. But Mustaine was probably too wasted to remember most of that. Since sobering up, he's found God and endorsed Rick Santorum. Unlike other musical supporters, Santorum didn't use any Megadeth tunes during his campaign stops.
Ted Nugent - Republican: Try and take away Ted's guns? Over your dead body. The Nuge's support for the Republicans arrived in the same envelope as his NRA membership. Clearly proving his proclivity for Republican talking points, he once called Obama an "anti-American monster."
Tom Petty - Democrat: Tom Petty's songs are like crack for Republican political candidates, but Petty doesn't care. That's probably why his band call themselves the Heartbreakers. Most recently, Petty filed suit against Michelle Bachmann to stop the Tea Party fav from using "American Girl", and before that, he used legal channels to stop George W. Bush from using "I Won't Back Down" in 2000.
Prodigy - Independent: Half of the legendary Queensbridge rap duo Mobb Deep might be pigeon-holed as an Obama supporter given the broad support the President receives from the hip hop community, but Prodigy was firmly planted in the Ron Paul camp. He discovered Paul's political ideology while serving three years in prison on gun charges. Since then, he's been outspoken Libertarian.
QuestLove - Democrat: The iconic drummer for the Roots might be the reason Pennsylvania became a blue state in 2008. Well, maybe not, but he has been heavily involved in supporting Democratic causes, including an appearance in a campaign video for Obama.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Democrat: Anthony Kiedis took to the streets to show his support for Obama in 2008, and Flea appeared in a video showing his support for the candidate. John Frusciante doesn't like to talk about politics in public, but he didn't object to the band playing the Democratic National Convention in 2004.
Gene Simmons - Republican: What is it with the greats of rock and metal all becoming Republicans? Is it just the money? The man with the most notorious tongue in rock and roll is a stalwart Romney supporter. Originally, Simmons sided with Texas governor Rick Perry, but after Perry dropped out, he decided to rock and roll all night and party every day with Romney.
Bruce Springsteen - Democrat: The Boss has been sticking it to the GOP for almost thirty years. He first locked horns with Reagan in 1984 over the Gipper's use of "Born in the USA" and has stayed firmly left ever since, including MoveOn.org's "Vote for Change" tour in 2004, among others. Springsteen, like the Dems, enjoys a lot of support from labor unions.
Survivor - Independent: No, not the TV show -- the band responsible for penning "Eye of the Tiger," one of the greatest inspirational jock jams of all time. They filed suit against Newt Gingrich's campaign for their use of the tune during events. The band could be anti-Republican, or they could just want the licensing dollars Newt owes them.
Hank Williams Jr. - Republican: It's not a huge surprise that Hank Jr. would be a fan of small government and limited federal authority. He once famously compared Obama to Hitler and lost the best gig ever -- singing the Monday Night Football theme song.
Will.I.Am - Democrat: The Black Eyed Pea made pro-Obama anthem "Yes We Can" for the candidate back in 2008, and played the Democratic Convention when the circus rolled into Denver. He admits that Obama isn't a "magic man" that can solve all the country's problems, but he's still a big supporter.