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Taylor Swift in St. Louis on her Reputation Tour. Photo courtesy of Rachael Ericsson.

on Swift’s political voice

Taylor Swift took to Instagram this week to express her support for Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper, two democratic candidates in Tennessee running for government positions while also criticizing Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn.

“Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Swift said.

At the end of the post, she encouraged her 112 million followers to educate themselves on their candidates and vote in the upcoming election. Many were surprised to Swifts post as she has never revealed her political opinions in her years in the spotlight.

A day later, Oct. 9, after winning Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards, she echoed her sentiments from the Instagram post by telling the audience to go out and vote. Since then, vote.com received a large surge of new voter registrations, which has been dubbed “The Taylor Swift Effect” on Twitter.

Taylor Swift’s political alliances had been a mystery until the Instagram post, so political outbursts from both Republicans and Democrats poured onto social media after her statements. Many connections and comments were made to Kanye West, who has made public his support for President Donald Trump and even met with him today to talk about prison reform among other things. President Trump himself commented on Taylor Swift, saying that he “like[s] her music about 25 percent less now.”

While celebrities are taking sides in the political ring, the discussion is focused on whether or not celebrities should mix business and politics. The media and political figures have told many celebrities, specifically sports players, to stay in their lane. Other celebrities, however, have used their status and fan base to establish themselves in the political realm. Some notable celebrities-turned politicians are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.

Did Taylor Swift's endorsement of politicians change your viewpoint on them?

Anya Kumar, junior
“After stating her political views, my perception of Taylor has not changed. I’ve always been a fan and respected her choice to stay silent when it comes to politics. Now that she has spoken out, my respect for her has grown. Her values and beliefs are very similar to mine and I think it was very smart of her to speak out at such a critical time. She has a very large platform and has the ability to influence many people. She stands for what she and many others believe is right, including preventing discrimination against the LGBTQ community, women, and putting an end to racism. After her statement, there was a large spike in voter registration showing just how far her influence reaches. As far as my perception of Taylor goes, I respect her and her choice to speak out so, no, it has not changed.”
“After stating her political views, my perception of Taylor has not changed. I’ve always been a fan and respected her choice to stay silent when it comes to politics. Now that she has spoken out, my respect for her has grown. Her values and beliefs are very similar to mine and I think it was very smart of her to speak out at such a critical time. She has a very large platform and has the ability to influence many people. She stands for what she and many others believe is right, including preventing discrimination against the LGBTQ community, women, and putting an end to racism. After her statement, there was a large spike in voter registration showing just how far her influence reaches. As far as my perception of Taylor goes, I respect her and her choice to speak out so, no, it has not changed.” Photo by Anna Xu.
Vignesh Kumar, sophomore
“Personally, it does not affect my opinion on the celebrity, but i'm not against them using their platform to advocate for certain political views.”
“Personally, it does not affect my opinion on the celebrity, but i'm not against them using their platform to advocate for certain political views.” Photo by Anna Xu.
Jocelyn Heimsoth, senior
“She’s showing what she cares about and she’s using that to get other people to vote. So that’s not necessarily bad, I mean some people are probably going to get upset because she said that she’s a democrat. That normally gets backlash. But I think if she’s passionate about something she should be able to share it.”
“She’s showing what she cares about and she’s using that to get other people to vote. So that’s not necessarily bad, I mean some people are probably going to get upset because she said that she’s a democrat. That normally gets backlash. But I think if she’s passionate about something she should be able to share it.” Photo by Anna Xu.
Katelyn Weatherford, junior
"No. I don’t know how this has anything to do with Taylor Swift. I used to like her music when she was country but it just got worse and worse. I’m a Republican so I don’t really believe in the same thing as Democrats."
"No. I don’t know how this has anything to do with Taylor Swift. I used to like her music when she was country but it just got worse and worse. I’m a Republican so I don’t really believe in the same thing as Democrats. " Photo by Anna Xu.

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