Published On: Wed, Feb 7th, 2024
Music | By MDN

‘She could absolutely change my mind’: readers on Taylor Swift’s political influence | Taylor Swift

Although Taylor Swift, 34, avoided discussing Democrats or Republicans in the earlier stages of her career, she has become more politically vocal over time. In 2018, she spoke out against Marsha Blackburn and supported Democratic candidates in Tennessee. During the 2020 election cycle, she endorsed Joe Biden and vowed to the then president Donald Trump on Twitter that “we will vote you out”.

In recent weeks, a string of rightwing figures have begun to spread conspiracy theories claiming Swift is a “Pentagon asset” who will influence the next presidential election by endorsing Joe Biden.

Here, six US voters from across the country share what they make of Swift taking a stance on US political issues, what issues they would feel comfortable having Swift talk about, and whether the superstar could influence their vote.

‘Could Taylor Swift influence my vote? Yes, absolutely’

“I love that Taylor is getting political! Every American has the right to their own political ideas, and to express them.

“Taylor has a voice that is all caps, a megaphone. I’d like her to take a stance on women’s issues, youth issues, social issues, LGBTQ+ issues, the NFL draft, drug use, or anything else on her mind. Basically, any issue other than those affecting her personal business interests.

“I think she could, potentially, absolutely change my mind politically, because she is a strong woman who is a role model to my 24-year-old daughter and who is unafraid to speak her mind to old, misogynistic, males who can’t find the ability to respect a woman, any woman. It is time we prepare the next generation of women for leadership. The far right are scared to death of Taylor, who has an opportunity to move the needle, to politically mobilise particularly young women and men, and I think she should.” Michael Dee, 67, an investment banker from Dallas, Texas

‘Her words are a drop in the ocean compared to the Maga machine’

“I am very supportive of Taylor taking political stances. Country stars have supported Republicans for years and it didn’t seem to bother anyone; now a smart successful woman has threatened the football Maga crowd. She’s a smart, aware woman and any speaking she does is a drop in the ocean compared to the Maga machine that is everywhere. If she can prevent another attack on our fragile democracy she should please speak up. She’d be a fool not to.

“I’d like her to clear up issues [about which] Trump has gaslit people. He made a mess of things. Let her highlight his failures, his encouragement of the January 6 attack on the Capitol and his lies.

“I live in a Republican state, with cowboys and Trump people and pickup trucks driving around with flags. I’m gonna vote for whoever will be the Dem candidate, but I’m hoping Taylor can get a few more people here to vote Dems, educate them politically, people who don’t read the papers.” Roberta, retired, from South Dakota

‘If Taylor Swift endorsed a presidential candidate, I’d be angry’

“It is concerning that Americans turn to icons like Taylor Swift, a musician, to advise them on how to vote. It further evidences that Americans are not really thinking for themselves but are under the sway of cultural and commercial influences.

“Swift is part of a global elite, whether she acknowledges it or not and no matter how much charity she does. She is now a billionaire, and even if she had $500m, $50m or $5m, she would still be living in a completely different world from most of her fans and most people in the United States.

“When Taylor Swift experiences an injustice, hundreds of millions of people hear about it in her songs or on the international news, creating the illusion that this injustice is significant to the lives of everyone else. I hate this new trend of celebrities becoming politicians and further capitalizing on their special privileges.

“If Taylor Swift endorsed a presidential candidate, I would be angry. Americans do not need more noise in their already noisy election. We do not want musicians having that much power that they could sway a political election to one side or another. Leigh, 34, PhD student from San Francisco, California

‘Taylor Swift’s endorsement can influence me more than any man in DC’

“She should absolutely take a stance, as much as any American voter! Her stance and/or endorsement is one that I care about as much as my granddaughter does.

“I would like to hear her speak out in support of human rights for all, especially women. And to support the asylum-seeking refugees risking their lives to contribute their hard work to the US. That’s what actually makes America great.

“For me, Taylor Swift’s endorsement holds more influence than any man in DC or in the media. Why wouldn’t her opinion matter to me?” Louise*, 72, an unpaid family caregiver from Florida

‘She should guide her followers if she cares about them’

“People who have influence have a duty to speak the truth to their flock. A good leader stands by principles they believe in and advocates for the greater good. If Taylor Swift truly cares about her followers then she will guide them to make a good decision at this crucial moment in time. No one on the right would critique a pastor advancing his world view into sermons, so why can’t a singer?

“I think Taylor Swift can speak well on inclusiveness, anti-racism, women’s rights, and democracy – fundamental values that shouldn’t be controversial in modern America, but have been made vulnerable by rightwing fearmongering. She should avoid [talking about] the climate until she leads by example and doesn’t fly from mansion to mansion on a private jet.

“My vote would absolutely not be influenced by her: if she endorsed Trump I would just assume she’s horrible. If she endorsed Biden I would be glad that she isn’t a white supremacist.” Jacob Phelps, 38, a registered nurse from Pennsylvania

‘She should encourage her fans to make up their own minds’

“I tend toward the liberal end of the spectrum but I’m not dogmatic about it. Everyone should be engaged in our democracy. Because Taylor has built a successful career in music she can use her popularity to advocate for the things she cares about. More power to her.

“I hope she encourages everyone to become more active in our country’s future. If she could convince people to value the diversity of our society and help to tone down the hate-filled rhetoric from both sides that would be a gigantic achievement.

“I think she would be far more effective if she didn’t endorse a candidate but instead told her fans to study the issues and make up their own minds.” Geoff Lusk, 58, pilates instructor from Denver, Colorado

*Name has been changed

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