Image Courtesy of ABC News
By Thomas Saacks
This past week, Fox News host Jesse Watters pushed the false claim that Taylor Swift was potentially a government asset who was “a front for a covert political agenda.” To what nefarious scheme is Watters alluding? He speculates Taylor Swift will partake in the very common practice of political endorsement and endorse the Democratic Candidate for President, Joe Biden. No endorsement has been made yet, but Ms. Swift is no stranger to public political demonstration, and it would break a trend if she chose not to endorse the Democratic Candidate.
The “Blank Space” singer is no stranger to the political arena. She had publicly established herself as both a feminist and an LGBTQ ally by the mid-2010s. Ms. Swift claims the period following the 2016 national election was a formative time in her political development. As the midterms approached, she could no longer remain silent.
A month before the election, Ms. Swift took to Instagram to endorse Democrats Phil Bredesen for the Senate and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives. She supported them because they supported reproductive and LGBTQ rights, something that is commonly supported by her audience of Gen-Zers and Millennials.
Additionally, Ms. Swift renounced the Republican candidate for Senate, Marsha Blackburn. She cited Blackburn’s voting record “against equal pay for women” and “against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act,” as well as her belief that gay people can be denied service from a business and from obtaining legal marital status. Ms. Swift felt her “Tennessee values” were more aligned with the Democratic candidates and she publicly endorsed them.
Jim Cooper won his election, and would continue to serve Tennessee’s District Five until he announced he would no longer run following redistricting in 2022. Marsha Blackburn won the seat over Phil Breseden. She serves as a senator for Tennessee to this day. Blackburn is a strong supporter of Donald Trump and her condemnation by Ms. Swift ignited the public bad blood between Taylor Swift and likely 2024 Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Trump came to the defense of Blackburn, calling her a “tremendous woman.” The mutual dislike between the former president and Taylor Swift would continue to grow.
Leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Taylor Swift took to X, formerly Twitter, to criticize then-sitting President Trump. In May she disavowed his promotion of “white supremacy” and declared “we will vote you out in November.” She again criticized him in August for undermining UPS as a means to harm mail-in voting.
Her political expression would culminate in October, in which she would publicly endorse the Democratic challenger to Trump, Former Vice-President Joe Biden. “ I will proudly vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in this year’s presidential election” shared Taylor Swift in VMagizine because “under their leadership, I[she believes] America has a chance to start the healing process it so desperately needs.”
Ms. Swift further clarified her support for the Biden candidacy, citing the campaign’s support for people of color, the LGBTQ community, and women. Additionally, Taylor Swift believed a new administration would better handle the Coronavirus Pandemic. Ms. Swift believed a potential Biden administration would benefit the United States and thus endorsed the future President.
Taylor Swift continued to support the Democratic administration through the midterms in 2022. She took to Instagram to encourage people to vote because she felt that “more than any year in modern history, the midterm elections will affect our access to fundamental rights.” Following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Taylor Swift was especially concerned about women’s access to reproductive care.
Taylor Swift has yet to endorse any political candidate for the 2024 election cycle. However, she posted a short message on National Voter Registration Day on September 19th, 2023, in which she encouraged her fans to register to vote through the service Vote.com. A record 35,000 new voters registered that day. During this same time period, a survey conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics reported almost a fifth of participants were more likely to vote if they received an encouraging message from Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift is undoubtedly a powerful 21st-century political figure.
So why has she yet to endorse Biden? It is still early in this election. In the last general election, she endorsed Biden only a month before the election date. Of course, she is also under no obligation to enforce any candidate. Given her political action of almost a decade, it would be more surprising if she did not endorse President Biden. Contrary to the punditry espoused by Fox News this week, Taylor Swift is not beginning her political involvement: Karma is a decade-long endorsement of the Democratic Party.
Courtesy of Instagram