For quite a while now the Internet has had a peculiar obsession with pop star Taylor Swift’s self-imposed political silence.
Liberal-minded Twitter and Facebook users have been posting comments pressuring Swift to join the ranks of myriad other celebrity activists who use their fame capital to move the political bar ever further to the left.
Up until now digital bully tactics have had little effect on the singer-songwriter. However, times have apparently changed in a big way, and Swift, who is currently on a “Reputation” concert tour, uploaded a photo to Instagram that virtually announces her candidate picks for political office in the state of Tennessee.
Swift previously nurtured an image of being above the political fray. In stark contrast, she has now chosen to take very specific positions on a number of polarizing issues in addition to her candidate endorsements.
Letting it be known that she will be voting as a Tennessee resident in the 2018 midterms, Swift announced her support for two Democrat candidates in her home state, one who is running for the U.S. Senate and another who is striving to secure a seat in House of Representatives.
Along with her endorsements, Swift let loose with an over-the-top slam of Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, who although of the female gender has the seemingly incorrect party affiliation attached to her name, at least according to leftist celebrity activists.
Swift informed her fans that Marsha Blackburn was running for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee and conveyed her emotion-laced opposition.
“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Swift shared.
Accompanying her post was a black and white photo in which Swift wears a flannel shirt that makes her look like her old country music singing self.
A number of Swift’s A-list BFFs, including Blake Lively, Karlie Kloss, Katy Perry, and Chrissy Teigen, “liked” the post.
In her political Instagram post, Swift referenced her former approach to avoiding political expression.
“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,” Swift wrote.
Swift’s habit of abstaining from political discourse had become part of her public image. In a 2012 interview with TIME, she said that in spite of keeping herself “as educated and informed as possible,” she does not discuss political subjects.
“I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people,” she told the publication at the time.
In November 2017, a blogger criticized Swift for her political silence and actually accused her of enabling an alt-right and white supremacist fan base.
Meghan Herning wrote a piece titled “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation,” which was published in PopFront Magazine. Herning asserted that Swift’s single “Look What You Made Me Do” contains “dog whistles to white supremacy in the lyrics.”
Additionally, referring to the clothing worn in Swift’s related music video, Herning wrote that “Taylor lords over an army of models from a podium, akin to what Hitler had in Nazi Germany.” Herning added that “the similarities are uncanny and unsettling.”
Essentially condemning Swift for her silence, Herning wrote, “And while pop musicians are not respected world leaders, they have a huge audience and their music often reflects their values. So Taylor’s silence is not innocent, it is calculated.”
Herning received a letter from Swift’s attorneys, demanding she retract the article and threatening a lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union promptly came to the aid of Herning.
That same month, the left-leaning UK Guardian published an editorial titled “The Guardian view on Taylor Swift: an envoy for Trump’s values?”
The newspaper implied that, in part, because of her silence, Swift was a stealth Trump supporter.
“… a notable voice has been missing from the chorus: that of Taylor Swift, the world’s biggest pop star. Her silence is striking, highlighting the parallels between the singer and the president: their adept use of social media to foster a diehard support base … their laser focus on the bottom line; their support among the ‘alt-right,’” the editorial read.
The Guardian claimed that Swift’s songs “echo Mr. Trump’s obsession with petty score-settling in their repeated references to her celebrity feuds, or report in painstaking detail on her failed romantic relationships.”
In a Politico piece titled “The Weird Campaign to Get Taylor Swift to Denounce Donald Trump,” which summarized the pressure being mounted at the time on Swift to jump on the anti-Trump skateboard, Swift was labeled “studiously apolitical.”
Stats on the pop singer reveal that she has garnered 112 million Instagram followers, 84 million followers on Twitter, and 72 million “likes” on her Facebook page.
It is arguable that she is at the apex of the celebrity pyramid, as liberals who have pressured her to join their ranks are no doubt aware.
Her level of fame grants her greater endorsement power than many of the other celebrities who have been visible participants in left-of-center protests of late.
With all this in mind, there is now a question of whether Swift will be able to hold on to her popularity, and additionally whether she can maintain her sizable social media platform after the public becomes fully informed of her newfound politics.