By Ben Thompson
After a long period of remaining politically neutral, Taylor Swift has come out and endorsed a political candidate. With the mid-term elections (in which Americans will vote for their representatives in Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives) fast approaching, Swift took to Instagram to implore her fans to register to vote.
In the Instagram post, the 28-year-old pop-star endorsed Congressman Jim Cooper for re-election and Phil Bredesen for election to the Senate. Both candidates are vying to represent Tennessee, Swift’s home-state. In endorsing the two Democrats, Swift put an end to speculation that she was a Republican. She even went so far as to criticise the Republican candidate running against Bredsesen, Marsha Blackburn, stating that her voting record on gender and LGBT equality “appalls and terrifies” her.
It’s no surprise that the singer wading into political waters left people divided. Some love the fact that celebrities voice their opinions, believing that it’s their duty as somebody with a platform to speak out against injustices. Others aren’t such big fans of celebrity political statements – least of all President Donald Trump, who remarked “I like her music 25% less now.”
In the wake of her endorsement, 65,000 fans registered to vote. While some may feel that celebrities who wade into political territory can run the risk of making themselves seem out of touch or self-important, as if their opinion is one you have to listen to, Swift’s statement has undeniably made a powerful impact. She spoke her piece and eloquently laid down her reasons for voting Democrat and most importantly without telling her fans who they should vote for. For a star with lots of young fans who adore and seek to emulate her, it is commendable that she encouraged people to make their own decisions.
Who you vote for shouldn’t be dictated to you by your favourite musician. Do your research, evaluate the candidates, and always turn out to vote.