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Founded at Georgia College in 2015, Trax on the Trail is a website where scholars, educators, journalists, students, and the general public can learn about American presidential campaign music and gain insight into how sound participates in forming candidate identity.
Our interdisciplinary team includes academic experts from the fields of political science, musicology, sociology, history, communications, and ethnomusicology, as well as industry professionals and students.
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The latest from Trax on the Trail
- Dancing Around the Double-Bind: Gender Identity, Likability, and the Musical Rebranding of Hillary ClintonNovember 29, 2015 From the New York Times to Saturday Night Live, media surrounding Hillary Clinton’s second presidential campaign has centered around that ever-elusive (yet seemingly critical) trait: likability. The former First Lady and Secretary of State has endured a long history of criticism due to her perceived elitism and aura of inaccessibility (Leibovich 2015). … Read more
- “I’ve Been Everywhere:” Martin O’Malley and the Many Meanings of the GuitarJanuary 8, 2016 Is America ready for a troubadour president? It is a question Democrats have to ask themselves as they decide on their party’s nominee for the 2016 election. For though Bernie Sanders would be the first Jewish president (who is also an avowed democratic socialist), and Hillary Clinton would be the first woman … Read more
- The Trump Bump 2016: User-generated Campaign Music about Donald Trump and His Political OpponentsFebruary 20, 2016 On 16 June 2015, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. Since then, Trump has received “more nightly [i.e., televisual] news attention than all the Democratic campaigns combined,” and unquestionably more online attention than any other Republican candidate.[i] Trump’s pronouncements—especially his proclamations concerning Muslims and Hispanic immigrants—have … Read more
- The Unwelcome Use of Musical Artists and Their Songs by Presidential CandidatesDecember 18, 2015 In contemporary presidential campaigns in the United States, candidates routinely use popular music in ways that cause musical artists to respond negatively. Indeed, every four years, we now expect that at least some presidential candidates will become embroiled in controversy after a musician complains about their music being used illegally or inappropriately. … Read more
- Political Pop and Commercials that Flopped: Early Lessons from the 2016 Presidential RaceJanuary 14, 2016 During the past two presidential elections, Barack Obama targeted key voters along the campaign trail by deploying pop culture tropes, especially the sights and sounds of popular music (Gorzelany-Mostak, Love, Deaville, and Saffle 2015). Campaign strategists for the 2016 presidential hopefuls have worked hard to emulate Obama’s success and once more to … Read more