As the 2016 presidential candidates make their big pushes to capture the primary nomination of their parties, the four remaining hopefuls are all relying on the time-honored tradition of the Presidential Primary Bass-Off. The nation has been anticipating this event since the frontrunners were named, as many believe that this will be the deciding factor for one candidate to slap and pop their way into the driver seat.
The tradition dates back to the first presidential election of 1789 when Commander George Washington delivered a rousing arco version of Bach’s “Mass in B Minor” on a contrabass, and won the heart of our nation. Many memorable Presidential Primary Bass-Offs have occurred since, including the famous throw down of 1860 when Abraham Lincoln, having broken his bow, invented his own technique that would later become known as “rockabilly slap,” as he crushingly outshined the tepid playing of Stephen A. Douglas and the lackluster lines of John C. Breckinridge.
Many political analysts believe that it was Barack Obama’s bold move in 2008 of performing D’Angelo’s album Voodoo in its entirety while being backed by The Roots that turned the voters in his favor. When asked to comment on his Oval Office-clinching performance Obama stated, “When the stakes are high, you have to go with the pocket grooves and soulful lines of Pino (Palladino),” he remarked while putting his Lakland 44-64 Vintage P with flatwounds into his gig bag. “The Who, Nine Inch Nails, and D’Angelo all know that first hand.”
This year’s Primary Bass-Off is shaping up to be an explosive event, as the four candidates have very different musical tastes and techniques. A big topic of conversation leading into the competition is the choice of gear that each candidate is bringing to the table. Ted Cruz has announced that he is going with a highly conservative sound in which the Texas senator will not even be using a bass amp, as he is choosing to go entirely DI. A pair of in-ear monitors will be the only signal feed for the 45-year-old candidate, who is rumored to be playing a selection of modern country favorites followed by an extended muted-picking solo.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders surprised a lot of voters when he announced that he would be using the newly released V7 5-string model by Sire Guitars, instead of a high-end bass from a longer established company. When asked to comment on his decision to go with the Marcus Miller-endorsed basses with prices that start at $299, Sanders gave this statement: “Look, I could’ve gone with a Fodera bass or a Ritter Bass, but let’s face it, not everyone out there has $4,000 to spend on a quality boutique instrument like that. You have single mothers out there working two jobs to support three kids who can’t afford an upscale bass. As a nation we can’t expect them to compromise their bass tone. That’s why a company like Sire, who cares about the people, is putting out these fantastic basses that everyone can get their hands on–no matter what your income level is, what race you are, or which genre you play.”
For the 67th Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, her plan is to keep her gear US-based, as she’ll use her trusty ’67 cherry red Fender Precision for the most important performance of her political career. “Nothing sounds as good as these fine American-made basses crafted right here in the states,” remarked the Democratic candidate as she warmed up with some Dorian scales in C major. “When I turned 14 and first aspired to one day become the first female president, I knew that I needed a bass that would convey the same patriotic message that my future campaign would. And that’s why I’ve always gone with Fenders.” However, controversy arose early on her campaign trail as Fox News uncovered photos of Clinton playing a Hofner 500/1 bass during her time at Yale University, and a Rickenbacker 4001 while she served as the First Lady. Clinton’s camp was not available for comment on the matter.
The most vocal of the candidates, businessman Donald Trump, talked extensively about his plans to dominate the Presidential Primary Bass-Off. For the 69-year-old republican candidate, it’s all about volume and tone. “Do people really think I’m gonna go out there with some dinky little 1x12 mimsy combo and noise canceling in-ear monitors? I mean, come on, get real. That’s not what this country was founded on. Canada, maybe they go for that kind of thing. Jeez. This country was founded on full stacks and thick, meaty tone,” Trump stated while applying KISS makeup to his face. “These people deserve better, louder bass tone than those other bozos will deliver. So I’m gonna build a wall…of 8x10’s, stacked ten high. And they’re going to be tube-driven, none of that solid-state sissy B.S. Then I’m gonna daisy chain more distortion and octave pedals than have ever be used before and pick the hell out of my active bass. That’ll knock the snot out of those liberals. It’s gonna be uuuge.”
As is tradition, if a winner is not declared within the first four rounds of the Bass-Off, then it will be decided by a note-for-note recital of Jaco Pastorius’ version of “Donna Lee” judged by Anderson Cooper, Megyn Kelly, and Victor Wooten.