Matthews and Obama: The Concert

April 3, 2008
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As I write this, lines are forming at the downtown Barack Obama headquarters for free tickets to this Sunday’s Dave Matthews Band concert in Bloomington.

It’s nothing new to see performers stumping for candidates. My question, though, is whether or not you think the strategy works. Are those claiming the stubs more likely to vote for Obama than they were pre-concert? And have you ever, honestly, been swayed to a candidate or cause because of the efforts of a musician?

Your thoughts?
  • Well, my opinion is that if you're so easily swayed without doing any of your own research on a candidate, then you're probably not that smart, and sadly I think the tactic will work for some. I've always detested Dave Matthews and his clan of yuppy kids trying to be hippy wannabes. If these are Obama followers... I'll have to take another look at the candidate. I hope he'll start doing other appearances outside of college campuses. I haven't made up my mind yet who I would like to vote for. I think I like Obama, but would like to know more. However, tactics like these seem kinda silly to me. It's like buying votes. Ron Paul had a large college following without these kinds of things. People followed him purely on his message. I wish Obama would stick to that instead.
  • I dont know that anyone is stating that having the kind of concert is going to persuade someone to vote for a particular candidate. Also, as a young professional who enjoys his music, I do take exception to the broad generalization used to describe his fanbase. Personally, I make my decision to vote on issues, not based on what demographics that candidate might also appeal to.

    Dave Matthews was politically involved through his Vote For Change tour in 2004 and publicly expressed his support for Obama several months ago. It is not surprising his would occur in a state where Obama is popular amongst young voters and Dave Matthews is also very well liked. This is a good move to generate more excitement for the candidate by the campaign.
  • Ryan

    So... the fact that Huckabee appealed to many right wing christians, that makes no never mind to you? If there is a group of people supporting a candidate and I generally disagree with that group, shouldn't I take a second look at that candidate? Maybe there's something there I'm missing. I take voting very seriously, and always have. I do my research and try to make the best decision. All I'm saying is that there are many people in our society that do not take the time and just vote for the flash in the pan candidate. At first glance I thought Huckabee appeared to be a nice man, with a sense of humor and perhaps he's a decent human being. However, when a candidate has a strong base of support from one group or another, that group can pool their resources to influence the candidate, lobbyists, ect.

    In your opinion the concert generates excitement, in mine it has the opposite effect. I just want to hear his actual message maybe see him speak. This other stuff is just a distraction, in my opinion.

    I have several friends who would say they're Dave Matthews fans. I even went to a concert once. I guess the cloud of pot smoke over the entire lawn (the worst I've ever seen at any concert and I've been to over a hundred) kinda turned me off. Not to mention the hippy looking kids throwing garbage out their window all the way downt the hwy. It was a very unpleasant concert experience and I'm basing my opinion on that.
  • Grouping all Dave Matthews fans into the category of yuppy kids trying to be hippie wannabees is a stereotype and extremely unfair.

    Yes, I have a ticket and am attending the concert at IU. No, I am not voting for Obama because of it - I am still undecided. If those who attend the concert then vote for Obama solely because DMB performed a free concert, they are uneducated. But, you cannot assume that. Those people may be the ones who don't vote at all...

    I don't think you should automatically count out a candidate because you don't agree with a large group of people supporting them. How do you know they're not just following the crowd? College kids, from what I've read, are supporting Obama in much larger numbers that Clinton. So, some may just be following fellow students in deciding who to support.
  • I'd rather have Dave Matthews giving a concert in support of Obama than see Oprah Winfrey cheerleading for his campaign. At least there is some entertainment value in the music. Seriously, not all artists have a clue about politics, and I am not inclined to follow blindly. There probably are a lot of people who do, though. Scary.
  • So Firewoman...

    Using your analogy I am to assume that the potheads of the world are going to pool their resources to influence the candidacy of Barack Obama? The two problems with your argument are that:

    1) In the case of Huckabee, he actively promotes and projects a message to that demographic base where a specific set of values is present, in the case here of Baptists. I would not be swayed by the fact that Baptists also like Huckabee, however the fact that Huckabee actually says he is a Baptist and wishes to project those values on the nation DOES matter. Its not the same thing. There are Baptists who could like Huckabee for reasons other than their own personal values.

    2) You assume that at least a significant number of DMB fans are potheads and act in an irresponsible way. Your choice not to go to more concerts because of your experience is understandable, to correlate that to the type of person you choose to lead the free world who happens to have the band play a concert in support of this cause does not.

    You certainly have a right to your opinion, but it seems much like the whole Rev. Wright issue. Its association politics where people are made to be accountable for the unwise words and actions of others that clearly to not account for their own.
  • Neither one of you, Ryan or Andrea are reading my entire posts. Obviously you're big Dave fans and took offense to my characterization of his fans. In my first post I stated SOME people not ALL people. In my second post, I stated that some of my friends are Dave Matthews fans, therefore not ALL of them are yuppy kids trying to be hippy wannabes. AND I did NOT state that I base my entire vote on what kinds of followers a candidate has. I look at ALL angles of the candidate, first and foremost, the issues. My main point being, before you both got indignant at my opinion of Dave Matthews and MANY of his fans, is, that to me this stuff with ALL celebs, not just musicians, ect, is smoke and mirrors to me. All I want is the meat and potatoes. WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? I want a clear answer from each of them, not their spokespeople, not their husbands, wives, kids, musicians, actors, ect. I want the message right out of their mouth without all the stupid tactics... aka free concert tickets.

    Ryan you do make a good point in your #1. I would not be swayed by the masses just because the masses think someone is the best candidate. In addition, I do not think potheads are going to pool their resources, but maybe there is an underlying message the candidate is projecting that I'm not understanding entirely. So if a group I don't generally agree with is following a candidate, I need to see why that is and if it's enough to make me take my vote elsewhere. That's all I'm saying. And no... I don't believe Obama is a pot-smoking Dave fan. I like Obama, but he's really been playing to the college crowd, which I get is one of his main fan bases, but how about the rest of the voting public? What does he really have to say?

    I'm truly sorry I offended both your musical sensibilities. I hope you both enjoy the show.
  • Firewoman, tldr.

    Musicians keep wanting to get involved in political discussions, there really isn't anything new about that. The last two presidential elections have had big pushes from musicians to encourage young people to vote. Hasn't worked out for the democrats for sure.

    And it doesn't help when the media, who I honestly trust even less than musicians to provide objectivity, trot out the tired irony that so-and-so isn't even registered to vote.

    Cue the outrageous cries of hypocrisy! Followed by the predictable dismissal of issues that matter to young people! Wrap it all up with a good photo of kids at college campus walking around with their heads cut off and a quote from a giggly teenager about her favorite band!

    and scene. Onto Sports and Weather.

    I was swayed to support Hunger Aid to Africa, learned more about the rain forest than I would in a World History class, and Amnesty International, AIDS, Third World Debt Relief, all those because I respect musicians and artists and listen to what they have to say. They don't effect my vote but the impact my consciousness, that's for sure. Artists can certainly give voice to a cause but mainstream media is quick to neuter the message.

    Now my question is, why would they want to do that?

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