Skip to main content

When the Macarena moved Hillary Clinton and the 1996 Democratic National Convention to dance

When the Macarena moved Hillary Clinton and the 1996 Democratic National Convention to dance

Share this story

The day after the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the hilarious Jesse McLaren celebrates the best fad from the 1996 DNC. The writer and comedian’s video shows delegates, politicians, and Hillary Clinton herself performing the former dance craze and current cruise ship anthem "The Macarena."

Because we’re talking about a presidential convention, the moment is well documented. C-SPAN hosts four minutes of DNC Macarena footage. For whatever reason, C-SPAN doesn’t allow video embeds, so you’ll have to visit the site to see the giddiest wonks of 1996 dig deep for their cotillion dance training.

It’s hard to understate just how big a thing the Macarena craze became. Vice President Al Gore even made a Macarena joke in his primetime speech. "This is some crowd. I’ve been watching you do that Macarena on television. And if I could have your silence, I would like to demonstrate for you the Al Gore version of the Macarena."

"Would you like to see it again?" asks Gore. Then he cracks at his perfect dad joke.

After the 1996 DNC, Amy Goodman and Salim Muwakkil spoke on Democracy Now about the subtext of the Macarena at the convention. Here’s the transcript:

AMY GOODMAN: The Democratic National Convention is over, and so, for the moment, we’ll all be spared the flag waving, the glitz, the empty rhetoric and, most importantly, the Macarena.

[music: Los del Río, "Macarena"]

SALIM MUWAKKIL: Well, why the "Macarena"? Well, the song projects a hip, energetic, multi-culti image of the Democratic Party on national TV. It also reminds America that the Democrats oppose English-only laws, since the song was originally all in Spanish. But you have to wonder if the political handlers who designed this convention bothered to listen to the lyrics.

[music: Los del Río, "Macarena"]

SALIM MUWAKKIL: "Give your body happiness, Macarena,

That your body is to give happiness and pleasure

Give your body happiness, Macarena,

Hey, Macarena!"

AMY GOODMAN: So that’s what they were singing—

SALIM MUWAKKIL: That’s what they were singing.

AMY GOODMAN: —and dancing to at the Democratic National Convention.

SALIM MUWAKKIL: So appropriate.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, we should say that they were also dancing at the Republican convention, not quite as much. In fact, Jack Kemp danced the Macarena on the podium. Oh, well, so much for English only.

Well, Dick Morris has done the Macarena, right out of the White House.