Who would have thought that Simon and Garfunkel would make it to a political advertisement in this day and time.
Windmills whirling, cows feeding on the farm, youngsters working on the computer at the cafe, a family at the dinner table, bales of hay, people dancing at the rally, Bernie Sanders talking to people individually at first, with numbers growing and to huge rallies eventually, a grid of faces of all the people who donated for Bernie campaign. And all this while, the lines “They’ve all come to look for America” from Simon and Garfunkel’s 1968 single ‘America’ running in the background. These are the scenes from Bernie Sanders’ latest campaign ad, weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
No words were spoken, no mudslinging, no aggressive assertions — only the signature voice of Bernie saying, “I approve this message,” with a bright and smiling face. The ad is set to change the scenario of the whole election arena.
Black, Asian, and Hispanic faces are seen stressing on the diverse nature of the campaign. Sanders is known to be wooing the minorities who are tilting towards Hillary Clinton.
The younger generation, a huge chunk of whom supports Bernie, make a prominent appearance in the ad. But the older generation, many of who belong to the Hillary camp, cannot resist the tune and lyrics of their times in the Simon and Garfunkel song.
Sanders’ campaign highlighted that the Vermont senator, who months ago was considered a long-shot candidate, has long intended to make the campaign about more than himself. The focus is on the people of America for a change, not on the candidate.
Sanders said in a statement, “This campaign is not about me. It is not about Hillary Clinton or any other candidate. This campaign is about you, your kids and your parents. It is about creating a political movement of millions of people who stand up and loudly proclaim that this nation belongs to all of us and not just a handful of billionaires.”
The ad has been designed by Tad Devine, a senior advisor on the Sanders campaign, and his firm, Devine Mulvey Longabaugh.
He said, “It’s a big part of our closing advertising campaign. We will probably have another spot as well before the end in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
CNN reported that Sanders’ spokesperson Symone Sanders discussed the ad on Thursday morning, saying that the commercial shouldn’t be considered an endorsement from the folk duo. She said the use of “America” by Simon and Garfunkel in their latest ad “does not imply an endorsement from Simon and Garfunkel.”
The song was properly licensed, and a rep for Art Garfunkel said the singer did approve Sanders’ use of “America.” Michael Briggs, a Sanders’ spokesman, said that “the use of the song was properly licensed.”
This ad will start running in Iowa on Friday and another, slightly different ad will air in New Hampshire.
The Statue of Liberty was the opening image in his previous campaign ad. The new ad completes the picture of the dream and love of America and the Americans with the Simon and Garfunkel song.
This new commercial comes as Sanders has gained ground in polls of voters in Iowa, which is the first state to vote in the primary, against frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Sanders has maintained a lead over Clinton in polls in New Hampshire, the second state on the primary calendar, for months.
Sanders has a personal connection to folk music. He recorded a short folk album in 1987 when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. There’s a long history of politics and top rock tunes. Bill Clinton used Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” in 1992, George W. Bush used “I Won’t Back Down” on the 2000 campaign trail without Tom Petty’s permission, Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and Ben Harper’s “Better Way” were faves of Barack Obama in 2008, Heart’s “Barracuda” at the Republican National Convention in 2008 when John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate, and Frank Sinatra’s reworking of “High Hopes” as and ode to John F. Kennedy in 1960 being among them.
Its simplicity stands in stark contrast to the more detailed and traditional hope-filled video of Hillary Clinton, which is replete with grave warnings and bold promises, reports the New York Times. How Hillary tops the Simon and Garfunkel song in her campaign would be interesting to observe.
[Photo by Hal Yeager/Getty Images]