Celebrities and Politics: Should Taylor Swift Have Supported Democrats?

Olivia Aragon, Staff Reporter

On Oct. 7, Taylor Swift made an Instagram post that took the media and the world by storm. For the first time in her career, she stated her political opinion on controversial issues. She also endorsed two Democrats who are running in an upcoming election in Tennessee.

Throughout my years growing up, and even now, Swift has always been one of my favorite artists; as a child, I remember dancing around my room to “Our Song.”

Frankly, one of the things I enjoyed about her as a celebrity was the fact that she never told her fans who to vote for, or stated the party that she supported. This is mostly because I didn’t care for all the drama, with people freaking out over who she was voting for. For the most part, I feel that celebrities should be judged based on their artistry, not on what political party they affiliate with.

I believe that everyone has the right to state their political opinions, but usually, when celebrities state their own, they can’t seem to do it without bashing the other side of the argument. Telling people they are stupid, or calling them horrible people for having a different opinion than you gets you nowhere and is no way to win an argument.

This is something that I appreciate about Swift’s post onto Instagram; she didn’t bash the other side. She simply stated that the Tennessee Republican candidate for Senate, Marsha Blackburn, did not fit her values and beliefs.

In the Instagram post, she says that “[The candidate’s] voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. 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. These are not MY Tennessee values.”

Of course, this statement about her voting against equal pay can be disputed, since Swift did not bring up a specific case in which she did this, but Blackburn did vote against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and that’s simply a fact. The issue isn’t whether you agree with Swift’s vote; the point is that she didn’t bash her, she just stated a fact.

In a response to Swift’s post, Blackburn talked to Fox Newswhere she says that she does support women, equal pay, and help and shelters for women. But in this response, she did not defend herself against the claim that she thinks that people who are gay shouldn’t be allowed to get married, and that businesses have the right to refuse them service. This leads me to believe that she does in fact believe this and in that case, Swift did not bash her, but stated a fact.

Taylor Swift’s post continued with a request to those reading. “Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most clearly represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway,” she said. She did not tell us who to vote for, but that it should be someone who represents our values. Swift did not bash the other side of the argument. This, I can respect.

I have seen the backlash, the joyous comments, and the news stories following Taylor’s post. I have come to the conclusion that most of the backlash has to do with the fact that she endorsed two Democrats. Of course, it doesn’t directly say this in the many articles against her sudden stance. Along with this, many of these news sites I have seen are conservative leaning. I believe that if she had come out and endorsed a Republican candidate, conservatives would be applauding, and liberals would be most likely bashing her and saying that she should never have stated her opinion.

An example of this is when Kanye West came out and supported Trump. I didn’t see any articles by conservative news outlets or any conservative politicians saying that he should never have said anything, nor did they bash him. Instead, liberals bashed him for the support he showed for Trump. I cannot stand the hypocrisy.

Some people may claim this example is comparing apples to oranges, but I don’t believe it is. The problem here is that, in both cases, the Republican party and the Democratic party only say it’s acceptable if it’s in their own favor. If there is a standard, then all must be held to it, and it should not be bent because it bends in their favor.

In my opinion, bashing Swift for stating her opinion is uncalled for. People can go ahead and counter what she said, and say why they disagree with her, but when they resort to insults, it just shows they don’t have any grounds for a logical argument. 

Another problem that I’ve seen is the fact that people say that she has a lot of influence, which is true, and people would vote for who Taylor Swift voted for just because she is Taylor Swift, which is also true. People may look to the number of voting registrations that happened following her post in Tennessee, but the deadline to register in the Tennessee election was that Tuesday!

I’m sure some people registered because they wanted to vote for who Swift was going to vote for, but we cannot discount the fact that there was most likely a large number of people who registered after that Sunday, simply because the deadline was that Tuesday. I’m not trying to downplay her influence or success, but I am pointing out the inconsistency in people saying that her endorsement of political candidates had a huge impact on how many people registered to vote. People are, in my opinion, exaggerating her influence.

There are most likely a thousand other arguments on why she shouldn’t have said anything, just like there were a thousand arguments on why she should. My point is, she stated her opinion with facts and respectfulness towards the other side. And you know what? She had a right to do it.

Sure, you may agree or disagree, but that is your opinion, just like that was hers and you have a right to state it. There are better ways to state opinions that will sway others to agree with you and more respectful ways you can do it, but that’s your choice, not mine, and not anyone else’s. Everyone has the right to state their opinion, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what they are saying. The right to state an opinion should not be taken away just because someone is a celebrity.

Creative Commons photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taylor_Swift_Red_Tour_5,_2013.jpg