Country Music and Politics: Is the Genre Red or Blue?


Our political views are often shaped by the community we live in: what our families believe, what we watch on TV, and even the kind of music we listen to. All of these aspects of life influence what we put value in. So as a fan of country music, and with the presidential election just a year away, I found myself asking how the genre views hot topics in politics today.

This piece is not meant to advance a political agenda, but rather serve as a platform for you, the reader, to be exposed to songs about social issues and decide for yourself to which side the genre swings. I do not pretend to be a political expert, so all statements on the views of the DNC and GOP will be derived directly from their published 2012 platforms. So without further ado, let’s see if country music is red or blue.

“All-American Boy”

Steve Grand’s new song “All-American Boy” was released in 2013 and immediately went viral; people went crazy for country music’s “first openly gay country star”. The story his music video portrays is the all too common predicament of wanting someone we can’t have, except this time it is from the perspective of a gay man crushing on his straight friend. Grand is always the first to point out that he has predecessors in country music who were also gay, but there is no doubt that Grand is making a splash with fans for his openness. Use the following to determine if Grand lines up more with the left or right.

Democrat: “We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.”

Republican: “We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

“The Call” by Matt Kennon

Abortion is a touchy and emotion-charged subject, and the decision to support “pro-life” or “pro-choice” is not one that is usually taken lightly. In Matt Kennon’s song “The Call”, he tells the story of a young couple getting pregnant and the man encouraging the woman to get an abortion. But just as the girl is in the doctor’s office he calls her to tell her that he changed his mind and wants to raise the baby together, and the girl is overjoyed. At the end of the song Kennon expresses the importance of phoning a friend every so often, he says “They might be glad you called.” So what do you think? Does this song express Democratic or Republican ideas?

Blue: “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.”

Red: “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

“Made in America” by Toby Keith

I hope you’ve seen in this article that country music is not totally red or blue, but perhaps…purple. People tend not to lean totally to one side, and neither does country music. But if there’s one thing the two parties and the genre can agree on it’s that they are proud to be American, and that the American Dream is something worth fighting for. The perfect summation of this pride is Toby Keith’s song “Made in America”.

DNC: “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

GOP: “The pursuit of opportunity has defined America from our very beginning. This is a land of opportunity. The American Dream is a dream of equal opportunity for all.”


Filed under Blog Post 3, Politics, USA

6 Responses to Country Music and Politics: Is the Genre Red or Blue?

  1. Talia

    I enjoyed this post a lot! I did not necessarily expect the songs you chose, but they fit really well. In any kind of media its always interesting to try and discover what the hidden agenda is or who those who create it support, whether politically or with other issues. If I would have answered this ten years ago I would have probably said I feel country music as a genre is much more republican. However, now I would answer that it is much more divided. These newer subgenres and young artists I feel bring more liberal and democratic views to their music than previous artists of say the ninety’s. I don’t think that country music has ever pushed one party fully but I believe depending on the time one party will be more prominent. Again like you said I am no expert and this is my opinion but I think that keeping a little bit of both views is another reason country is so diverse and so great.

  2. Amanda

    I thought this post was really interesting and especially unique. It’s interesting to think about the role that politics plays in country music. The country genre is one that has always been known for its great respect and common song themes of patriotism and pride in one’s state or country. There are so many songs about America and its greatness in general. I feel like in recent times there has been a somewhat large increase in the amount of country songs centralized around a political thing. I think it’s important that these artists focus on these issues in order to keep country music an intelligent, informed genre that is centralized around important topics for the songs.

  3. Morgan Lohmeier

    This was a very well-thought-out article. I like how you never once stated your position and refrained from any political bias, but rather, let the reader decide for herself which side each song within the genre is leaning towards. I have always thought that most traditional, old school country music leans toward the conservative, Republican party. However, maybe that was just because I am a Republican and chose to listen to songs that portrayed values I believe in also. One song that really stood out in your post was “All American Boy.” I feel like only a decade ago, this song would not have made it in the country music genre. With how far our country has come in accepting every aspect of equality, this song was able to really blow up without people within the industry bringing it down. Well written.

  4. One thing this post reminds me of is how the south’s political party loyalty has shifted over the years. For over a hundred years after the end of the Civil War, southerners avoided becoming Republicans because they associated the party with emancipation and the reconstruction. Morgan’s right that many country performers are red/Republican today, but fifty years ago they were mostly blue/Democratic. That doesn’t mean they had different beliefs, but rather that they associated those beliefs with different parties.

  5. Hannah Evans

    I really like this article. First off, the format of it was really nice! I like how you put the “blue” and “red” lyrics and gave the reader the option to decide what they think. You made solid song choices and I could tell you put some time into really thinking about this. I would, at first thought, deem country music strictly republican…just because that is what I generally associate the south with. But, you have given me some things to think about with this article. I wonder how the politics within country music in regards as to whether they lean left or right have changed throughout time. I’ll have to look more into that. Thanks!

  6. Annie G

    This was a really interesting post! I liked how you stayed neutral throughout but gave examples for each one, but leaving the categorization to us. The song Steve Grand, the openly gay country singer, reminded me a lot of Will Lexington from Nashville. However, when he came out they pulled him from his tour and told him to start writing songs for other people to sing so it was nice to hear about a successful gay singer in real life. I hadn’t heard the first two songs you posted and I really liked both of them, thanks for introducing to some new songs!

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