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‘Rich Men North Of Richmond’ Was Apparently A Hot Enough Topic To Kick Off Fox News’ Republican Presidential Debate

Oliver Anthony recently described himself as sitting “pretty dead center down the aisle on politics,” but that doesn’t change the fact that the success of his No. 1 single “Rich Men North Of Richmond” has been widely credited in part to its right-wing audience. Fox News really leaned into that when the network hosted a Republican presidential debate yesterday (August 23) and made Anthony’s song the subject of the event’s very first question.

As The New York Times notes, the debate started by moderator Martha MacCallum saying, “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, of deep frustration with the state of government, and of this country. Washington DC is about 100 miles north of Richmond.”

The network then played an excerpt of the song’s chorus, in which Anthony sings, “These rich men north of Richmond / Lord knows they all just wanna have total control / Wanna know what you think, wanna know what you do / And they don’t think you know, but I know that you do / ‘Cause your dollar ain’t sh*t and it’s taxed to no end / ‘Cause of rich men north of Richmond.”

She continued, “So, Governor DeSantis, why is this song striking such a nerve in this country right now? What do you think it means?” Ron DeSantis’ response began, “Our country is in decline. This decline is not inevitable, it’s a choice. We need to send Joe Biden back to his basement and reverse American decline, and it starts with understanding we must reverse Biden-omics, so middle-class families have a chance to succeed again.”

Addressing the song directly, he also said, “We also cannot succeed when the Congress spends trillions and trillions of dollars. Those rich men north of Richmond have put us in this situation.”

In light of the song’s success, Anthony has downplayed his own abilities and significance, writing in a recent Facebook post, “There’s nothing special about me. I’m not a good musician, I’m not a very good person. I’ve spent the last 5 years struggling with mental health and using alcohol to drown it. I am sad to see the world in the state it’s in, with everyone fighting with each other. I have spent many nights feeling hopeless, that the greatest country on Earth is quickly fading away.”