Nov. 4, 2016
This election season, our country seems more politically divided than ever. The race has been so ugly that it’s hard to even imagine a time when Republicans and Democrats could agree on anything at all.
In this podcast episode, we’re going back more than 75 years, to another hard-fought election. In 1940, FDR squared off against Wendell Willkie. And during the campaign, the Republicans, the Democrats, and even the Communist Party managed to agree on one thing:
It was an unlikely hit. The song was a kind of folk opera, sung by a Black man, that ran 10 minutes. But whether you were on the left or the right, the song’s populist message had something for everyone. It debuted on a national radio broadcast, on November 5, 1939. Producer Ben Shapiro brings us the story of “Ballad for Americans.”
Additional music in this episode comes from the band Broke for Free.
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