CULTURE

The Full Breakdown of the 2020 Candidates' Dance Moves

Because the American people deserve to know

With less than a month left until the Iowa caucuses officially kick off primary season, it seems like we've spent the last decade slowly whittling away at an endless list of candidates.

Many voters have already seen their favorite contenders drop out of the race. Others have yet to figure out which person on a crowded debate stage best represents their interests. Obviously there are a number of axes on which you can compare the candidates, and countless articles that can help you navigate their differing economic policies, their stances on health care, or their various approaches to foreign policy. If those are the factors by which you judge a candidate, you should have no problem finding what you need to make up your mind. People like me are not so lucky.

Obama dancing with Ellen Degeneres

I have always been a single issue voter—consistently casting my ballot for the best dancer. In 2008 and 2012, I had an easy time of it. Barack Obama's blend of smooth and corny dance moves struck a perfect balance for my sensibilities, easily winning out over Mitt Romney's "Gangnam Style" convulsions, or John McCain's high-intensity robot. 2016 presented a more difficult choice. I nearly didn't vote at all, but ultimately decided that Hillary Clinton's stiff Whip and Nae Nae represented the lesser of two evils when considered against Donald Trump's apocalyptic rendition of "Hotline Bling."

Trump dance SNL SNL

Sadly, some 60 million voters didn't see what I did, and made the wrong call. I won't let that happen again. The American people deserve to see every candidate dance before they go to the polls. Until the DNC finally listens to wisdom and converts one of their debates to a dance off, I've compiled this list so that you can make an informed decision.

Elizabeth Warren

We'll get the top-tier candidates out of the way first. Senator Elizabeth Warren has nothing to hide. She has been the most upfront, transparent candidate when it comes to her big, structural dancing. And while it may not be everyone's first choice in style, you can not fault her fun-aunt-at-a-wedding energy. The latest example of her eclectic blend of fist pumping and hula dancing comes from last night's Brooklyn rally with—recent dropout and competent dancer in his own right—Julian Castro. She probably just needs a couple more glasses of zinfendel from the open bar before she really loosens up.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is surprisingly spry. You might not expect a man in his 70s with heart problems to cut a rug, but Bernie is not your average senior citizen. He has the energy of a man half his age, and the timeless consistency of his dancing allows him to keep up with his young supporters.

Joe Biden

Former vice president Joe Biden dances exactly as you'd expect—slow, old fashioned, and "sweet" in a way that's uncomfortably intimate.

Andrew Yang

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Yang has more than enough spring in his step to keep up with any roomful of middle-aged women on the dance floor. His universal basic dance moves aim to remind us that we all share one dance floor.

Tulsi Gabbard

Congressional representative for Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard doesn't exactly dance—she dance-fights. Just as with her approach to debates or to the war on terror, her Capoeira moves may be a bit more aggressive than some voters want.

Amy Klobuchar

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is known for her no-nonsense pragmatism. She strives not to make any promises she can't keep, so she will appear to be the adult in the room...but her dancing tells a different story. Klobuchar dances with the energy of a happy toddler who could enter full-blown tantrum mode at any moment.

Marianne Williamson

Marianne dancing

You may be surprised to find that spiritual guru Marianne Williamson is still in the race, but once you see her dance moves, you'll be surprised she isn't the front runner. She is as one with the music as she is with the vibrations of the universe.

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Popdust's Time Machine series will take you on a journey through the best, worst, and most nostalgia-inducing pop culture events of each year of the past decade. This is not a definitive or comprehensive report; instead, it's a trip down memory lane as we near the onset of our own roaring '20s.

Ah, 2010.

"Tik Tok" was on the radio, we were all obsessed with Sarah Palin's family and Snooki, and Obama was president. It's hard to believe that all happened a full decade ago; so much (and somehow so little) has changed.

Where were you back then? Take a moment to close your eyes and let yourself remember. Can you hear it—a mosquito's whine? It's getting closer… Wait, that's not a mosquito... It's the sound of a prepubescent Justin Bieber singing his heart out in harmony with a million vuvuzelas. Welcome back to 2010.

2010: The Year of Oddly Violent Yet Playful Pop Music

In 2010, pop music was generally rather terrible, and a 16-year-old named Justin Bieber was dominating the charts. Bieber rose to prominence around 2008, but by 2010, he was one of the first supermassive social media success stories.

Justin Bieber - Baby ft. Ludacris (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

That same year, another, very different star named Adele released a song called "Rolling in the Deep." Robyn also released the iconic "Dancing On My Own," a glitter-covered party girl named Ke$ha released a banger called "Tik Tok," and Rihanna also released her Eminem collab "Love The Way You Lie," a song that still slaps but probably wouldn't be acceptable in 2019. Another great collab, Hayley Williams and B.O.B.'s "Airplanes," soundtracked middle school dances everywhere.

Adele - Rolling in the Deep www.youtube.com


Ke$ha - TiK ToK (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

"Like A G6" inspired incredible aggression in middle school volleyball games (can you tell I was in middle school then?). Cee Lo Green had everyone alternating between "F**k You" and "Forget You," and Willow Smith dropped "Whip My Hair."

Cee Lo Green - Forget You www.youtube.com

In 2010, Janelle Monae dropped her first LP, The ArchAndroid, and Katy Perry's Teenage Dream topped the charts. Kanye West joined Twitter and unleashed the magnificent My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on the world, and music was never the same. The same year, Taylor Swift found a stadium-filling pop audience with the release of the album Speak Now (and all this while from her 2009 confrontation with Kanye West was still reverberating through the faltering blogosphere).

Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (Official) www.youtube.com


Kanye West - Runaway (Full-length Film) www.youtube.com

Television Gets Queerer and Even More New Jerseyfied

On TV, Glee reigned supreme, giving us heart-wrenching moments such as Kurt's rendition of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and Archie's "The Safety Dance." (Remember when a simple queer declaration of love felt almost impossibly subversive and inspiring to your younger, gay heart?)

GLEE - I Want To Hold Your Hand (Full Performance) HD www.youtube.com

Fringe, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, Friday Night Lights, Modern Family, and Madmen were also airing, and the surreal animated hit Adventure Time debuted its first episode. 2010 was the year Lost ended, and American Idol lost Simon Cowell after crowning Lee DeWyze, one of the most forgettable Idols ever. Snooki dominated our collective imagination thanks to the success of Jersey Shore, and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien aired its last episode. Steve Carrell announced he was leaving The Office and Oprah announced her departure from late night TV.

Jersey Shore cast along with Nicole aka Snooki explains THE PUNCH on Entertainment Tonight 2010 www.youtube.com


Conan's last "Tonight Show" Monologue 1/22/10 www.youtube.com

2010 was also the year of the undead. The Walking Dead and the Vampire Diaries were successful 2010 debuts about undead folk, one bunch far sexier than the other.

Movies Obsess Over Vampires, Cryptids, and Superhuman Heroines

In addition to dominating TV, vampires lit up the silver screen in 2010. That year, Twilight Saga: Eclipse totaled $300 million in sales. (What was with our collective obsession with vampires?)

Twilight Eclipse Battle Vampires & Wolf Pack Fighting Scene www.youtube.com

Another kind of cryptid, Mark Zuckerberg, became even more famous when the film The Social Network hit theaters. (He was also crowned Time Magazine's Person of the Year). Another franchise installment—gloomy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I—hit theaters. Emma Stone won us over in Easy A, and so did Chloe Grace Moretz as the little girl in Kick Ass. Inception had us all questioning reality; the film Precious was an indie hit. Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Winona Ryder starred in Black Swan, Toy Story 3 and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World sparked cult followings, The Hurt Locker took the Oscar, and 2011's Oscar winner, The King's Speech, debuted in November.

Easy A (2010) - A Pocketful of Sunshine Scene (1/10) | Movieclips www.youtube.com

People Still Read Books

People still read books in 2010. Amazing, right? That year, two franchises starring very powerful women dominated the public's imagination: The Hunger Games and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. Jonathan Franzen's Freedom also garnered high praise, but Patti Smith's Just Kids won the National Book Award.

Tech Goes Hands-Free and Becomes More Eerily Invasive

Technologically speaking, social media was well on its way to becoming an election-altering superpower. Facebook reached 550 million users, and Twitter also became forebodingly powerful. Fun fact: The top 10 Twitter Trends of 2010 (via blog.twitter.com) were the Gulf Oil Spill, FIFA World Cup, Inception, Haiti Earthquake, Vuvuzela, Apple iPad, Google Android, Justin Bieber, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, and Pulpo Paul.

In terms of gaming, Angry Birds, the game that was all the rage, and PlayStations were everywhere. Hand-free gaming systems like the Kinect and the XBox 360 created new visions of what was possible with gaming. The iPhone 4 dropped, escalating the smartphone wars, and the iPad was introduced in January 2010. Not everyone was happy about technology's rapid intrusion into our personal lives; Net neutrality and online privacy were some of that year's most enduring and prescient buzzwords.

Everyone Loves Betty White

In 2010, America fell hard for Betty White, who starred in a now-infamous Super Bowl Snickers ad. Tiger Woods apologized to the public and made his return to golf. The Demi Lovato/Ashley Greene/Joe Jonas love triangle dominated teen magazine covers, and Lindsay Lohan's shenanigans were plastered all over grocery store tabloids. The video "Bed Intruder" went viral. Lady Gaga wore a meat dress to the VMAs, and Prince William proposed to then-plebian Kate Middleton. Bedbugs took over New York. The population of Greenland dropped from 3 to 2. Sex positivity was all the rage. The word "hipster" became universally loathed.

Betty White Snickers Super Bowl Commercial 2010 www.youtube.com


Lady Gaga Poses in the Meat Dress www.youtube.com

Overall, it seems the general critical consensus on the American pop culture landscape in 2010 was that it was a year of much noise and very little substance. "In popular culture, 2010 was an elephant's call unmodulated, a bleat, a squawk, a low-level blare," wrote Steve Johnson in the Chicago Tribune. "You put your fingers in your ears, and you still couldn't block it out. 2010 was a vuvuzela, all tone, no rhythm, the operational definition of unearned attention."

We had no idea what was coming, did we? Still, looking back, it seems that by 2010, the seeds for what social media and even politics would become had already been sown, though the pop culture landscape was oddly wide-eyed and innocent, even ignorant and uncritical. The political remained quite separate from the personal, at least in terms of mainstream media coverage, and the Internet was still something that was separate and less important than reality. How times have changed… or have they?