Taylor Swift is Turning 30 and Finding Her Political Voice

Taylor Swift | Kevin Mazur/TAS18/Getty Images for TAS
Taylor Swift | Kevin Mazur/TAS18/Getty Images for TAS

Since the beginning of her career, Taylor Swift has been famously apolitical. Since 2016, especially, singers, actors, and people with social influence have almost been expected to be attached to a political cause in some way or another, and at the very least show off their “I voted” stickers in an effort to inspire their fans to get out there and “rock the vote.”

Taylor’s country roots

But let’s not forget the singer’s country roots. Just as the Dixie Chicks learned when they went public about their opposition to the Iraq War, country stars don’t typically come out in support of liberal politics.

After their criticism of Bush’s plan for the war in Iraq, many country stations pulled The Dixie Chicks from their lineups. Station managers said this decision was a result of receiving multiple angry phone calls from listeners who thought the group’s statements were unpatriotic.

It’s not surprising, then, that Swift has kept her political opinions to herself all these years.

When she refused to endorse a candidate in the 2016 election, people assumed her silence meant she was a Trump supporter. Whether she was afraid of retaliation or just didn’t feel informed enough to speak up, we now know the singer at least has progressive values.

Taylor Swift’s endorsement of Democrat, Phil Bredesen, for Senate

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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. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting!

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In October 2018, Swift did something she’d never done before. She endorsed a political candidate on social media. Along with a black and white photo of the singer looking almost pensive she posted about her support of Democrat Phil Bredesen for Senate.

“I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.

I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives,” she wrote in her post.

Taylor Swift is now political

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Step into the daylight and let it go.

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As Swift revealed in her recent Elle essay about what she’s learned in her thirty years of life, the 2018 endorsement was to be the first of many.

I’m finding my voice in terms of politics. I took a lot of time educating myself on the political system and the branches of government that are signing off on bills that affect our day-to-day life. I saw so many issues that put our most vulnerable citizens at risk, and felt like I had to speak up to try and help make a change. Only as someone approaching 30 did I feel informed enough to speak about it to my 114 million followers. Invoking racism and provoking fear through thinly veiled messaging is not what I want from our leaders, and I realized that it actually is my responsibility to use my influence against that disgusting rhetoric. I’m going to do more to help. We have a big race coming up next year,” she wrote in her essay.

The singer also discussed her blanket views on sexual assault:

“It’s my opinion that in cases of sexual assault, I believe the victim. Coming forward is an agonizing thing to go through. I know because my sexual assault trial was a demoralizing, awful experience. I believe victims because I know firsthand about the shame and stigma that comes with raising your hand and saying “This happened to me.” It’s something no one would choose for themselves. We speak up because we have to, and out of fear that it could happen to someone else if we don’t.”

Swift is referring to her 2017 sexual assault trial.

Taylor Swift’s immense influence

As the pop star mentioned, she currently has 114 million followers on Instagram and 83.3 million on Twitter. She’s been receiving some criticism for declaring her new open policy concerning politics, but to have a following as hefty as Swift’s and ignore her potential for positive social change would be irresponsible. If her reason for staying silent thus far is due to a lack of the singer’s understanding of the issues, her followers should feel well taken care of when it comes to her endorsements from this day forward–they can rest assured her posts have been well researched and carefully worded.

We look forward to the singer’s thoughts on the upcoming 2020 race. The world is now watching.     

Read more: What Taylor Swift Has Learned About Love

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