Tevi Troy has two excellent posts about the Republican presidential field’s pop culture interests. This one focuses on music. It finds that Donald Trump has “broken the GOP’s music curse.”
This one focuses on pop culture in general. It finds that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have displayed a “facility to invoke images and references that go beyond politics.” Unlike Barack Obama, Cruz eschews upper-middle-brow references (e.g. to shows like “The Wire” and “Madmen”) in favor of impressions of Darth Vader and acting out scenes from “The Simpsons” and “The Princess Bride.”
Rubio, meanwhile, is a fan of hip-hop. He has also weighed in on the East Coast/West Coast rap rivalry — he favors the West. I find this controversy obscure (sort of like the one between East and West Coast Straussians), and have no opinion. I can say that Rubio has the right line on the Godfather trilogy.
According to Tevi, the one cultural stick-in-the mud is Chris Christie. When Hugh Hewitt asked him what his pop culture interests are, Christie responded: “I run for president, Hugh, that’s what I do.”
I guess I’m not much of a mind-reader. I would have expected that Christie thinks a big part of what he does is govern New Jersey. Not so much, apparently.
I agree, albeit reluctantly, with Tevi’s view that the ability to relate to voters via pop culture can be a big deal. And it may, indeed, be a big deal in a general election against the Countess of Chappaqua or an even older Democratic nominee.