The first Republican primary debate this week featured the viral song "Rich Men North of Richmond," currently topping the Billboard 100 and iTunes charts.
"As we sit here tonight [Wednesday], the No. 1 song on the Billboard chart is called 'Rich Men North of Richmond.' It is by a singer from Farmville, Virginia, named Oliver Anthony. His lyrics speak of alienation, a deep frustration with the state of government and this country," co-moderator Martha MacCallum said.
"Washington D.C. is about 100 miles north of Richmond," MacCallum continued. "Why is this song striking such a nerve in this country right now?"
Responding to the question, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the country "cannot succeed when the Congress spends trillions and trillions of dollars" and that those "rich men north of Richmond have put us in this situation."
Days later, on Friday, Oliver Anthony (real name Christopher Anthony Lunsford), the unknown artist who was once a factory worker living in forgotten Appalachia, published a YouTube video saying it was "funny seeing it [song] at the presidential debate because it's like I wrote that song about those people."
"So for them [DeSantis and all the other Republican candidates] to have to sit there and listen to that that cracks me up uh but it was funny kind of seeing the response to it like that song has nothing to do with Joe Biden you know it's a lot bigger than Joe Biden um that song is written about the people on the on that stage and a lot more too not just them."
He continued, "I hate I do hate to see that song being weaponized like I see I see the right trying to characterize me as one of their own and I see the left trying to um trying to discredit me I guess in retaliation uh that shit's gotta stop if you watch the response videos on YouTube to this song it's not conservative people responding to the song it's not even necessarily Americans responding to the song um I don't know that I've seen anything get such positive response from such a diverse group of people and I think that terrifies the people that I sing about in that song and they've done everything they can the last two weeks to make me look like a fool to spend my words to try to stick me in a political bucket and they can keep trying but I'm just going to keep on writing and I've got a lot of words to put down on paper."
And this is why the establishment is scared by the song... Unity.
Watching people from all walks of life connect with Rich Men North of Richmond reminds me that we are not alone in the struggles that we’re facing. Nothing scares them more than us unifying against them.— TaraBull (@TaraBull808) August 17, 2023
While establishment Republican presidential candidates duked it out on stage this week, the front-runner, former President Trump, ditched Fox for a Tucker Carlson interview, which might have stolen the show with over 255 million views and counting.