The old Taylor Swift is dead. The singer who has been notoriously silent on her political views recently spoke out about her beliefs via an Instagram post, which caused quite a stir in her fanbase. Although it’s nice to see Swift finally taking a stance on political issues, one has to wonder—why now?
Swift never spoke out on politics when the 2017 alt-right essentially claimed her as a white supremacist, and she stayed silent for the duration of the 2016 presidential election while many influential celebrities seized their opportunity to voice their concerns about the political landscape. In her Instagram post, Swift mentions her silence on political issues.
“In the past, I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions,” Swift said. “Due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”
Her recent outspokenness could be due to the fact that Brett Kavanaugh was recently appointed to the Supreme Court, and Swift previously won a sexual assault case and could resonate with Dr. Blasey Ford. This could be seen as one of the events in her life that pushed her to voice her concerns.
“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,” Swift said. “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.”
Although Swift has written lyrics like “You can want who you want / boys and boys, and girls and girls,” this is the first time she has publicly stated where she falls on the political spectrum.
Swift mentioned that she will be voting for Phil Bredesen (D) for Tennessee Senate and stated that she does not support Marsha Blackburn (R). However, she urges her fans to “vote based on who most clearly represents your values” and included a link from Vote.org to register to vote.
Reports of voter registration numbers skyrocketing overnight have led media outlets to credit Swift for the occurrence. While her impact is not to be undervalued, it is also important to mention that voter registration deadlines were coming up, and people were rushing to register to vote anyway.
While I am glad that Swift is now finally voicing her concerns, it should have happened sooner. Participating in local elections and mobilizing people to get registered to vote is important, but she should have posted something like this when the 2016 Presidential campaigns were happening. If she cares as much as she says she does about these issues, why is she just now speaking out about them? They were just as prevalent in the presidential race as they are now.
Maybe she feels that she won’t alienate her fanbase as much as she would have then, or maybe she finally feels free enough to voice her opinions now that her contract with Big Machine Records is up, and she no longer has to appeal to the primarily Republican demographic that country music encompasses. Although the “Why now?” question may never be answered, it’s wild to see how one Instagram post can shake up an entire fanbase.