Should Musicians Influence Voters?

Photo credit: Jim Mone
With the US presidential election race coming to an epic conclusion in a few short weeks, there is one crucial question that remains on everyone's mind in the run up: who will win? Trump or Clinton? 

It's important that everyone who is eligible to vote must do so to stop the wrong person winning the position of power, but should musicians become involved in the debate and aim to influence voters' decisions in the lead up to the polls opening. 

Recent data from the US Census reveals that voter turnout in the United States currently stands amongst the lowest in the developed world. The last presidential election saw only 53 percent of Americans voters turn out. With over 240 million voting-aged Americans, yet over 100 million of them who choose not to vote, the question arises as to why they show such nonchalance and breeze in their attitude to voting? 

Bands and artists are fortunate enough to be in a unique position of power. They have the ability to influence and inspire their fans, which is why celebrated figureheads in music are often approached by brands to represent their products within advertising. However, there's more that can be done to make a difference and musicians have recognised this. 

At a recent show in Miami, Adele urged concert-goers to vote for Hillary Clinton, one of the high-profile presidential nominees who was watching the show from the audience on the eve of her 69th Birthday. As a British citizen, Adele is unable to vote in the election, although Nick Merrill (a spokesman for Clinton) reported that Adele announced on stage that she is "100 percent for Hillary Clinton".

The 'Hello' songstress was also said to have told the crowd that "What happens in America affects me too" and it's easy to see why those in the position to make a difference often share their political views to skew voting perceptions in their chosen candidates' favour. 

Photo credit: David Goldman
Artists have every right to share their opinion with their fans, especially when the upcoming election is the hot topic on everyone's mind, but you have to ask yourself what the consequences of voicing that opinion may be. If it influences voters to the point in which there's a major swing in support for one candidate, it becomes clear that people are listening and want a chance to shape their future. 

Some musicians believe that publicly sharing their political views is a great way to bag some publicity and win new fans over, as often political views act as a gateway for new listeners to discover artists. Hip-hop band, Deathrow Tull noted "If you publicly support a candidate or weigh in on a law, you will be lumped into a category like 'conscious rapper' or 'anarchist punk'. 

"Fans who divide themselves by those classifications will follow the artists that are avatars of their affiliations. That can be positive, as finding a niche is one of the most important parts of building a career as an artist."

Not everyone is going to agree with your political views, whether you're a multi-millionaire artist or not, but if you can influence people to vote who wouldn't have been politically proactive otherwise, then consider that a minor victory. Sharing your politics is a chance to have people on the opposite side of the spectrum learn from you, and in some cases you have the opportunity to learn from them too. 

What's the worst that could happen though? Being publicly vocal about your political motivations may cause you to lose a fan but artists lose fans for countless reasons anyway, so you might as well have your say on the great Trump vs Clinton debate. 

If you're eligible to vote on November 8, make sure to use your vote and have a say in who will win the 58th presidential race to the White House and will determine the leadership of America in future years. It's one of the most important votes you will be able to cast in your lifetime so think carefully and choose wisely. 

Words Lauren Wade

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