In This Corner: Barack and Hillary’s Latino Campaign Songs

No wonder Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are doing everything they can to court la raza. A whopping 25% of registered voters in Texas are Latino, and with the two Democratic hopefuls now in a statistical dead heat leading up to the March 4 primary, these 3.6 million Latinos, primarily Mexican Americans, have unprecedented power in determining the next potential President of the United States. When we say they’re doing “everything,” we’re not just talking about rallies in El Paso and awkward, fist-pumping chants of “Sí, se puede!” In what amounts to a political ranchero smackdown, Hillary and Barack now have their own Mexican regional campaign songs—complete with hilarious music videos—designed to tip the brown vote in their favor. Which one, er, rocks harder? Let’s break down the elements:

Round One: Repeat Play Potential

This one comes down to the music. “Hillary, Hillary Clinton” is a lively blend of Tejano with cumbia with an intro by local favorite Johnny Canales. Its fusion-happy sound is capable of appealing to a wider base, and it’s definitely more danceable. On the other hand, “¡Viva Obama!” (created by, who first brought us “Obama Reggaeton”) is in the classic style of of a corrido, and it’s performed by a pretty excellent mariachi band. Who doesn’t love that?

Winner: “Hillary, Hillary Clinton,” by a nose. The song’s versatility reinforces this candidate’s finely-honed ability to please everyone…something that could give her the edge she needs on Election Day.

Round Two: Anthemic lyrics

For this category, a side-by-side comparison is most revealing:

“Hillary, Hillary Clinton” (translated excerpt)

A strong president, she can end the war
And give health care to all the people of this land
Fair immigration laws and a better economy
I don't have to think twice, for Hillary I will vote

Hillary, Hillary Clintooooon (For her, I will vote!)
Hillary, Hillary Clintooooon (For her, I will vote!)

“¡Viva Obama!!” (translated excerpt)

To the candidate named Barack Obama, I sing corrido with my soul

Humble he was born, and without pretension

He started in the streets of Chicago, working to achieve his vision.

To protect the working people and bring us all together in this grand nation.

¡Viva Obama! (¡Viva!) ¡Viva Obama! (¡Viva!)

Families united, secure and even with a plan for our health.

¡Viva Obama! (¡Viva!) ¡Viva Obama! (¡Viva!)

A candidate fighting for our nation.

Winner: ¡Viva Obama!” gets the slight edge. Whilewe commend Hillary for touching on specific issues in her song, who really wants to dance along to lyrics about immigration and the economy, unless Juan Luis Guerra is the one singing about it? Obama’s self-mythologizing prowess is on full display here, and it’s a perfect match for the corrido singer, who in just four short lines spins a moving narrative about a luchador who’s there to save us all. Plus, shouting “¡Viva Obama!” is actually kind of fun!

Round Three: Gripping visuals

This one was easy. “Hillary, Hillary Clinton” is actually endorsed by Hillary Clinton, but it’s not even a real music video! It’s just photo after static photo of Hillary holding hands with América Ferrera, people holding up Hillary Clinton signs, etc. It’s like one of those bootleg photo slideshows set to music that your eight-year old hermano could put up on YouTube. Barack’s video, on the other hand? We wouldn’t be surprised if mun2 put it into rotation. It’s a joyous, live action video of Latino launderers, auto mechanics, happy couples, businessmen and construction workers victoriously holding up Obama signs while the youngest mariachi band ever sings yearningly into the camera. We’re sold.

Winner: ¡Viva Obama!” by a landslide.

FINAL TALLY: “Hillary, Hillary Clinton” makes a valiant effort to talk real politics in its lyrics and make a mass-appeal song that even Colombians in Texas (they do exist) can enjoy, but let’s face it: even Caucasianspring-breakers can dig a triumphant mariachi tune that turns a Chicago senator into a living, breathing Horacio Algerente. All together, now: ¡Viva Obama!

--Monica Herrera