Television for votes? Can Trump top that? 2015.06.24


As if there weren’t already enough presidential candidates jockeying for position more than 16 months prior to election day, Donald Trump has thrown his hat into the ring, or maybe it was that hairy thing atop his head. The announcement of his candidacy managed to annoy not his opponents, but instead a Canadian rock star whose music was used during Trump’s event.

It didn’t take long for Neil Young’s cranky side to emerge after the Trump campaign played Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” as Trump took the stage. He quickly released a statement claiming that Trump was not authorized to use the song. 

 What’s more, Young announced that he personally is a supporter of candidate Bernie Sanders, or at least the current version of Bernie Sanders. Sanders alternated between several third parties early in his political career, won his Senate seat as an Independent and is now running for president as a Democrat, sort of like the way Neil’s music in the 1980s jumped from rock to electronic to rockabilly to country to rhythm & blues.

In reply to Young’s charges, the Trump campaign stated that they paid for and obtained the legal right to use Young’s song through a licensing agreement with the ASCAP organization. Trump’s campaign manager said that there were plenty of other songs to choose from, and “Despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes him very much.”

Somehow I doubt that made Neil feel any better, and I’m not holding my breath waiting for him to show up as a player on the next edition of Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” 

Perhaps Trump should cut a deal with  Pink Floyd to use the song “Money” as his official campaign theme song. Or, maybe take a tip from the recent elections in Mexico and make voters an offer they might not want to refuse.

 According to a New York Times story, the various political parties south of the border “hand out gifts while making vague promises of jobs, security, education and social programs.” Generally, the gifts are illegal, but there are no fines or penalties unless there is a complaint made to Mexico’s Electoral Institute. The Times article noted that since all parties break the law, complaints are few.

The Green Party, for example, sent out free movie tickets by mail to many voters. The Mexican version of the party, said the Times, “is best known for its support of the death penalty.” I wonder what movie the tickets were for? Do you suppose Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” is still in Mexican theaters?

Other political parties gave out “baseball caps, food packages, school supplies and even rooftop water tanks.” Then there was the  ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI,  which left all those penny ante “gifts” to others. They offered voters new televisions. And not some bargain basement television, either.

The PRI handed out coupons good for a 24-inch digital television. In all, the party plans to gift 10 million citizens with new televisions in an effort to help them keep up with changing technology.

Some of you may remember our own government subsidizing the purchase of converter boxes several years ago to  enable analog televisions to get digital programming. Mexico’s communications ministry decided to give out actual digital televisions instead, saying that updated models will reduce electricity use by as much as 60 percent. 

In addition, the plan  supports  the Mexican television industry, which ranks number two in the world in exports of digital televisions. Three million televisions have already been given out with a deadline looming to distribute the other seven million by year’s end.

Since I could never get my own converter to work properly, I’m still using my analog television in conjunction with lousy cable service. I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation. Maybe Trump should consider handing out a few digital televisions himself, as long as we aren’t required to watch his show.

Then again, if he’s elected president, he wouldn’t have time to continue Celebrity Apprentice, would he? Do you think Neil Young would let bygones be bygones and play at his inauguration? Personally, I doubt it. Maybe The Donald should see if Eddie Money has the date open. Could he possibly hire anyone more appropriate?