Ballers to Honey Boo Boo: pop culture tastes of the Democratic candidates

After Pete Buttigieg revealed his affection for Rebel Wilson comedies, what can we learn from the film, music and TV choices of the other presidential possibilities?

This is a crucial time for the 2020 Democratic candidates. Its a crowded field full of big names, and its going to take real work and creativity if anyone wants to stand out from the melee. But luckily Pete Buttigieg knows exactly how to do this: by targeting his campaign hard towards fans of Rebel Wilson.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Buttigieg laid out his pop culture favourites for all the world to see. He watches Rick and Morty to fall asleep, for example, and hes trying to get on board with Succession, except I havent decided if any of them are good people. But when asked about the last film he saw theatrically, he stalled before eventually admitting it was Isnt It Romantic or, as he called it, That movie where the lady wakes up and shes in a romantic comedy.

See, Rebel Wilson fans? Pete Buttigieg is just like you. Sure, he might not have known Rebel Wilsons name, or the films name. And he may not have expressed any sort of opinion about the content of the film. But, really, who has? By half-remembering that he went to see a mediocre Rebel Wilson film eight months ago, Buttigieg has only managed to align with himself with the general public. Maybe we all saw Isnt It Romantic in February and cant really remember anything about it? How would he know?

So know that we know as much about Pete Buttigieg as we could ever hope to know, what about the other candidates? What do their pop culture preferences tell us about them? Lets find out.

Joe Biden

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Photograph: David Becker/Reuters

In 2016, Joe Biden dropped a Spotify playlist that is full of exactly the sort of music youd pick if you didnt actually like music but wanted the world to think that you did. Bruce Springsteen is on there. The Beatles are on there. The Best by Tina Turner is on there. My Way is on there. Its less a curated playlist and more the results youd get if you spent half an hour Shazaming in the worlds most dismal karaoke bar. He also once told reporters that he tried to keep up with Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, so clearly the man is not to be trusted.

Cory Booker

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Photograph: Cj Gunther/EPA

Cory Booker describes himself as a movie addict, so it only goes without saying that two of his favourite films are little-known gems Rocky and Star Wars. In other media, Booker earns points for expressing his fondness for Black Mirror which he watched with Rosario Dawson but then loses twice as many for putting Michael Jackson songs on a publicly available Spotify playlist in the year 2019.

Kamala Harris

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Photograph: Nati Harnik/AP

In January, Harris made a web-only video for Stephen Colberts late night show, where she claimed that she loved to dance to Check the Rhime by A Tribe called Quest. To prove this, she then danced even though the song wasnt actually playing, which is something a sociopath would do. She also once claimed that she listened to Tupac at college, and says that My Cousin Vinny is her favourite film. All her choices, in all media, come from between 1991 and 1993. The woman lives in the past. Shes the Uncle Rico of the 2020 presidential race.

Beto ORourke

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Photograph: Robert F Bukaty/AP

Betos music we all know about, because he never shuts up about it. He was in a band with one of At the Drive-In, and once made a widely respected DC Hardcore playlist. But what of his other pop culture touchstones? This is much harder to ascertain. In a TV interview in June, he said that he preferred Ryan Gosling to Ryan Reynolds, so lets assume hes a big fan of The Notebook.

Bernie Sanders

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Photograph: David Zalubowski/AP

The good thing about Bernie having progressed to the latter stages of a leadership race once before is that hes already been run through the pop culture mill. There isnt a thing about his tastes that we dont already know. Favourite music? He has all of Beethovens symphonies on his iPad, but he also likes Abba. He claims that he likes Modern Family and in 2016 called The Big Short an excellent film which isnt much of a surprise, at least.

Elizabeth Warren

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Photograph: Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Elizabeth Warren likes Ballers. Doesnt matter about anything else doesnt matter about the music she listens to or the books she reads or the policies she endorses because she likes Ballers. Shes spoken on podcasts about her love of Ballers. She commented on the 2017 WGA negotiations by telling everyone how much she likes Ballers. She tweets to The Rock about her love of Ballers. Warren has no political motivation to say that she likes Ballers. There isnt a hidden army of Ballers fans wholl carry her to the White House if she panders to them enough. She just likes Ballers. Shes the only person in the world who likes Ballers. A woman who can stick up for something as patently rubbish as Ballers deserves to be given the world on a plate. Long may she reign.

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