Taylor Swift. We all know her. She is a pop music artist most known for singing mainly about how she can’t really deal with breakups. Kidding (only slightly, though). She has steered clear of commenting on the political sphere because, let’s be honest, she doesn’t really know what she’s talking about. However, we now live in a day and age where there are so many platforms to allow for someone to come out and take a political stance. Also, for someone that has so many followers, can foster collective action based on something that they say on one of those platforms (for Taylor its mainly social media) — their fans, whether artists realize it or not, listen to them.
Taylor, decided to put her endorsement behind former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen for Senate and incumbent U.S. House member Rep. Jim Cooper in two nail-biting races in her home state, poll watchers wondered whether the pop star — who has not typically waded into politics — could move the democratic needle.
At first, the impact was astounding. Well, its unclear who exactly registered to vote to seriously vote, or because their beloved Taylor posted about it. However, 65,000 newly registered voters were accounted for during the 24 hour period of her post.
The new voters didn’t exactly help. Bresden lost his race to Republican Marsha Blackburn by a nearly 11-point margin. So Taylor’s power couldn’t help there, meanwhile Cooper kept his seat after beating Republican Jody Ball by more than 35 points. So, the argument for Taylor’s influence on that race is valid.
Obviously there is a lot to debate, and the fact of the matter is that a lot of those newly registered voters all could have missed that tweet or just aren’t avid Taylor Swift fans. However, that isn’t to say that the question of artists role in the political sphere should be examined through this example. For starters, Kayne West was in the oval office recently. Thank god him and the POTUS had a falling out — who knows where that partnership was going. Moving on in a more serious context, artists obviously have the support and adoration of millions (depending on the fame, but you get the point) — none of which really understand the political climate nor should have a lot of say in that realm. This gives them the power to spur collective action amongst a massive group of people — an incredible power to have, but one that comes with a plethora of responsibilities. For one, you should know what you are preaching, and for another its important to remember that a lot of these famous artists are not independent. So, they may have ulterior motives to who they are supporting. Keep that in mind.
In summation, we can’t take what our favorite artists tell us to seriously when it comes to political life because it just isn’t their space.