Super Tuesday didn't start off tremendously well for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. Although he picked up an early landslide win in his home state, his competitor, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was projected to win Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee by significant margins. Despite his rough start, Sanders didn't seem phased. In fact, he was all song. To celebrate his projected landslide home state win Sanders sang "This Land Is Your Land" to serenade a Vermont crowd.
Sanders supporters will know the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate has a soft spot for Woody Guthrie's folk hit. Super Tuesday was hardly the first time Sanders has broken out into song — specifically this song — while out on the campaign trail.
Sanders sung the tune with famed indie rock group Vampire Weekend on Jan. 30 at the University of Iowa and then again with the Cold War Kids at a rally in Henderson, Nevada on Feb. 19. Roughly a week later he threw his arms around Guy Forsyth, Amy Nelson (that's Willie Nelson's daughter in case you didn't know), and Cathy Guthrie for a group sing-along of "This Land Is Your Land" in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 27.
But Sanders has been singing "This Land Is Your Land" long before his 2016 campaign even began. In 1987, he recorded "We Shall Overcome," an album of five folk songs that includes a Reggae version of Woody Guthrie's hit. At the time, Sanders was serving as the mayor of Burlington.
Written by Guthrie in 1940 as a critical response to "God Bless America," "This Land Is Your Land" wasn't actually recorded until 1944 and didn't hit the peak of its fame until the 1960s when a new generation of political folk singers picked up the tune. The song seems a perfect fit for Sanders, who told Rolling Stone in an interview about what music he pumps through his headphones that he had been influenced by the 60s. "I would say I was shaped, my music was shaped in the 60s by Motown, by the Supremes, by the Temptations."
"This Land Is Your Land" is just one of the nostalgic feel good songs currently being played by as part of the Sanders campaign repertoire. A national ad for the Vermont senator is accompanied by Simon and Garfunkel's "America." Clinton's campaign certainly couldn't pull off a kumbaya moment a la Sanders. Her campaign lacks not only the sense of nostalgia but, more importantly, the undertones of political revolution that Sanders' camp has embodied, which is what makes his continued group singing of "This Land Is Your Land" work.