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Music Times Matches Republican Debate Candidates (Trump et al) with Opening Acts

by Ryan Book   Aug 6, 2015 18:28 PM EDT

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The Republican Debates will air tonight on FOX, and many will be tuning in to hear what Donald Trump will say...versus actually trying to educate themselves on who the best candidate for the right side of the aisle might be. Music Times doesn't write too much about politics but we know something, duh, about music, so we've come up with an act or musician to accompany all ten of tonight's candidates. Check out our reasoning below, with the candidates ordered just as FOX has them ranked heading into the big event:

Donald Trump = Lord Jamar

It's tough to think of a pairing seemingly as opposite and Lord Jamar, an emcee from the Queens hip-hop collective Brand Nubian. One appears to hate white people, and the other appears to hate minorities. But they both have a distaste for gays. Both tend to make brash, outlandish statements about the people they don't like. And both were way better at their trades-of-choice during the '80s. So maybe these two could work together after all.

Jeb Bush = Jimmie Vaughan

Jeb's best advantage among diehard Republicans is his last name, which he shares with this nation's last two Republican presidents. That said, the party might prefer a more toned-down version of his older brother. Similarly, Jimmie Vaughan is a great guitarist in his own right, although not as renowned as his brother Stevie Ray. Perhaps his more subtle stylings—less behind-the-back soloing—might be an approach Bush should consider (less foreign invasions).

Scott Walker = Tim Lambesis

Scott Walker is the most forthright of Christian candidates in a field full of forthright Christian candidates, much like how former As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis was never afraid to proclaim his faith, even among the metal scene he partook in. That said, don't assume either is afraid of confrontation: Walker has promised to "blow up" the recent nuclear deal with Iran, while Lambesis hired a hit-man to kill his wife (he failed. He also denounced Christianity later). Someone suggested we pair Walker with experimental musician Scott Walker. We stared at them until they went away.

Mike Huckabee = Marshall Grant

Mike Huckabee stands out among the candidates for an actual role in music: He plays bass in the Congressional band Capitol Offense. It's only logical to match him up with another rhythm man. Although he's not from Arkansas himself, it makes sense to choose Marshall Grant, who played bass for Johnny Cash (the biggest musician born in The Natural State). He was bassist for Cash for 26 years, longer than even Huckabee has held any one political position.

Ben Carson = Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Ben Carson is the only non-politician in the running for the Republican nomination and, accordingly, he gets a band versus an individual performer. Emerson, Lake & Palmer were most critically acclaimed for its excellent Brain Salad Surgery, and Carson himself was a neurosurgeon before announcing his candidacy. The band's prog rock nature, jumping all over the place, mirrors Carson's approach to campaign strategy. Both have nice technical chops however: Carson was the first person to separate conjoined twins joined at the head.

Ted Cruz = Guillermo Portabales

Ted Cruz surprised very few with an understanding of Republican stereotypes when he announced this year that country music was his favorite genre, as he recalled how it responded to 9/11 in a positive manner. He also promotes his Cuban heritage a fair amount so we figured we'd combine the two and pair him up with Guillermo Portabales, the legendary Cuban guajira (Cuban "country") player. Oh wait. Cruz is opposed to dropping the embargo on his ancestral homeland, so it's going to be tough to get any native guajira players over here. His loss?

Marco Rubio = Gloria Estefan

Marco Rubio is in a better position when it comes to Cuban musicians. For one, he's from Miami, a more popular port for Cubanos (compared to Cruz's Texas). For two, the biggest name in Cuban music—Gloria Estefan—is also one of the biggest opponents to dropping the embargo. She has denied time and time again that she's affiliated with Republicans, but she's happy to push their agenda: She was appointed by the second Bush to speak to the United Nations Committee on Human Rights about Cuba.

Rand Paul = Dickey Betts

Rand Paul may not be Strom Thurmond (thank God) but he can string together a few words and filibuster for hours on end. Sounds like a few members of the Allman Brothers, a group that—along with the Grateful Dead—really popularized the notion of jam-based rock. It's be easy to suggest the legendary Duane Allman as a partner for Paul, but Dickey Betts rarely gets the attention he deserves for turning out massive jams: Allman would die shortly after the release of Eat A Peach, leading Betts to assume control on the guitar for the group's three-hour concerts and hits like "Mountain Jam."

Chris Christie = Jon Bon Jovi

The only person who will see this selection as a loss will be Chris Christie. The bombastic governor of New Jersey has seemed to be sucking up to Bruce Springsteen, one of the biggest names in rock history, for years. However most of those efforts have been ignored/rebuffed by The Boss. Jon Bon Jovi, another iconic Jersey boy, would gladly accompany Christie to an NFL game outside of the native Giants/Jets however: Christie shamelessly pulls for the Dallas Cowboys, while Bon Jovi attempted to buy the Buffalo Bills.

John Kasich = Iron & Wine

In relative terms, John Kasich is the critic's choice for the nomination. Outside of public school teachers, almost no one hates his guts, and most of his policies are moderate compared to the hard-lining we're used to from the Republican party. In that regard, he's much like Iron & Wine, a folk rocker who's almost universally acclaimed. Kasich is also like Iron & Wine in the sense that nobody can hear anything he's saying (one because of humble presentation, the other because of low volume), which makes it hard for him to grab attention.

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