Taylor Swift Was Right to Get Political On Social Media
Taylor Swift has never been one to publicly comment on politics. Until now.
The popstar, who is currently doing her sold-out world tour, took to Instagram on Oct. 7 with an important message for her 112 million followers:
“I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”
She endorsed Democratic candidates and openly opposed Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn. Swift said that Blackburn’s voting record “appalls and terrifies” her. Her concerns revolved around the protection of gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and racial discrimination. Swift declared these forms of discrimination to be “sickening and prevalent.” The question is, should celebrities involve themselves in politics? In this case, the answer is yes.
Breaking her political silence in is perhaps the smartest move Taylor Swift could have made. According to Vote.org, in the 48 hours following the Instagram post, there was a spike in voter registration. In less than two days, more than 169,000 new people had registered to vote. By comparison, Vote.org added only 56,669 new voters during the whole month of August.
Researchers are now calling this registration spike “the Taylor Swift Effect.” In addition, it allowed Swift to straighten out rumors that have been circling around her. During the 2016 election, the singer urged her fans to do their civic duty and vote, although she never specified a candidate or party. This began speculation that she supported Donald Trump. Even more extremely, a popular theory was that she was actually a white supremacist. The social media post shut down all of those rumors quickly.
Many were shocked by Swift’s sudden outspokenness. Her fans rallied around the singer, aggressively supporting her decision. Several celebrities also voiced their support for Swift’s decision to be political, including her former feud partner Katy Perry and friend Todrick Hall. Rob Reiner praised the singer by saying, “You can single handedly change this country. Impress on your fans how critical and powerful their voices are. If you get them to the polls on Nov.6, everything you care about will be protected.”
Others criticized Swift for butting her nose into things that have nothing to do with her career. Trump Advisory Board member Madison Gesiotto tweeted, “I never looked to Taylor Swift for political advice and I don’t plan to start now.” President Trump declared that he likes Swift’s music “25 percent-less now.” Either way, her announcement has encouraged voter registration amongst thousands of 18-30 year olds. This could prve to be especially prevalent in a red state like Tennessee.
This all comes after the tumultuous ordeal of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court despite sexual assault allegations, as well as Swift being featured in TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year issue as a “Silence Breaker” by winning a sexual assault court case in the wake of #MeToo. After totally transforming her image with the release of her album reputation in November, it’s no surprise that Taylor Swift has chosen to voice her political opinions for the first time. With the midterm elections on Nov. 6, only time will tell if her efforts made actually a difference.