While other celebrities have interpreted their talent for music or acting as a qualification to lecture the masses on politics, superstar Taylor Swift always smartly avoided making any sort of political statement. Despite recent speculation about her politics and even pressure — yes, pressure — to publicly denounce Trump, she kept her politics out of the spotlight … until last night. Swift has taken to Instagram to make two political endorsements ahead of the midterm elections.
“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now,” Taylor wrote. “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. 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.”
Swift went on to attack Marsha Blackburn, who is running for U.S. Senate in Tennessee, Swift’s home state. According to her, Blackburn’s voting record in Congress “terrifies” her. Swift continued with boilerplate left-wing talking points: “She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry.” Taylor then endorsed Phil Bredesen for Senate (who recently said he would have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh) and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives.
As a fan of Taylor Swift, I found this statement extremely disappointing, and not because I deluded myself into thinking that she was a closet conservative. I’ve long suspected Taylor and I don’t agree on much politically. Aside from her well-documented fascination with the Kennedy family, she’s friends with Lena Dunham, a liberal lunatic who admitted to inappropriately touching her own sister and fabricated a story about being raped while at college. Taylor hasn’t exactly been keeping the greatest company in recent years. But, still, I respected her decision to be silent. For her, it was good business to just shut up about politics and sing.
Look at what politics is doing to the entertainment and sports industries. Movie ticket sales are at a 25-year low; the Murphy Brown reboot, which promised to be political, debuted to mediocre ratings; and NFL viewership and attendance are also down. Swift is already on thin ice with her fans over her ridiculously expensive concert ticket prices. Does she think her conservative fans are going to shell out hundreds of dollars per ticket to see in her concert if they think she hates them?
One of the best things about Taylor’s politics being private was that her fans didn’t have to care about what she believed. But now she will be seen through a political lens. Liberals will call her courageous for speaking out, while conservatives will miss the real courage she once had to stay quiet amidst all the pressure to get into it.
Perhaps her entrance into the political fray was inevitable, but her tone and rhetoric were truly the most shocking part of it all. Given Taylor Swift’s previous desire to be apolitical, I thought if she ever did feel compelled to make a public statement, she’d at least show empathy for all sides and acknowledge that her fans likely fall all over the political spectrum — and that her conservative fans don’t appreciate being likened to bigots and sexists. Yet Taylor’s political rant was textbook left-wing talking points — and that was particularly disappointing.
Conservative science-fiction author and fellow Taylor Swift fan Jon Del Arroz agrees. “I’ve always been a big fan of Taylor Swift because she’s been apolitical,” he told PJ Media. “She gave me hope for celebrities that they didn’t all hate me.” Del Arroz, who saw Taylor Swift in concert earlier this year, says Swift crossed a line in her statement. “A line was crossed not by her endorsing a Democrat, but by using the extreme left buzzwords like ‘racism’ and ‘bigotry’ to signal she loathes Christians and conservatives.”
As a result of her rhetoric, Del Arroz has decided he can’t support her anymore or even listen to her music. “In this divided era I feel like there’s no choice but to stick with artists who are pushing culture in a positive direction. I don’t have time for celebrities who tell me they hate me and my values.”
Del Arroz and I have our own disagreements about Taylor Swift. He considered her last album reputation to be her finest work, while I considered it her most disappointing. I also have no plans to disavow her or her music any more than I plan to embrace Kanye West for his support of Donald Trump. I can’t tell you the name of one song of his, nor could I identify one if it came on the radio. I’m not going to listen to him just because he wears a MAGA hat. I will, however, give Kanye credit for challenging American blacks to not be politically monolithic, to think for themselves, and to be respectful of all opinions. So many celebrities are so consumed with hate for Trump that it defines everything they are now, and they don’t seem to care if it alienates their fans. I’d have greater respect for Taylor’s opinion if she had taken a more respectful tone.
In a country ripping itself apart over political differences, Taylor used to be a beacon of hope for those of us who thought she was above it all, even if she wasn’t one of us. She refused to get in the mud, and we liked that about her. Too many celebrities act like they don’t care if their conservative fans feel alienated, because frankly, they don’t even want conservative fans. Whether that’s the kind of celebrity Taylor wants to be is unclear, but based on her statement it appears this is only the beginning of her public political activism.
Who knows what impact, if any, this will have on Taylor’s career. One thing is for sure: She’s not uniting her fans. Many are outraged, and many are thrilled. It didn’t have to be this way, Taylor. So take a look at what you’ve done, ’cause baby now we got bad blood.