Why Bruce Springsteen is the soundtrack of the 2020 primaryRoundup
tags: rock music, Bruce Springsteen, 2020 Election, White Working Class, Democratic primary election
Jonathan D. Cohen received his PhD in history from the University of Virginia. He is the coeditor of "Long Walk Home: Reflections on Bruce Springsteen."
Democrats could choose from a plethora of liberal artists to pump up their crowds, including musicians with larger and younger fan bases than Springsteen who might excite key, hard-to-engage constituencies. So why do they keep cranking up the Boss?
Because Springsteen embodies white working-class Rust Belt voters who, until recently, constituted a core Democratic voting bloc.
In Springsteen, Democrats see an archetype of the white working class, one who can help them woo the voters in the Rust Belt and farm states who have turned various shades of Republican red over the past half-century. However, winning the white working-class vote requires more than Springsteen songs. It requires running on a platform of worker-focused economic populism that would address the policy concerns embedded in his lyrics.
Raised in Freehold, N.J., Springsteen had a decidedly working-class upbringing. His mother worked as a legal secretary, often providing the family’s sole source of income as his father — who struggled with mental illness and alcoholism — bounced between blue-collar jobs.
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