Taylor Swift’s Political Message Causes Spike in Voter Registration

On Oct. 7, Swift announced she'd be voting for Phil Bredesen for senate.

On Oct. 7, Swift announced she'd be voting for Phil Bredesen for senate.

Dilan Yousif, Staff Writer

With the midterm elections coming up on Nov. 6, citizens are encouraged to vote. Yet individuals neglect to vote for many reasons, such as, being too busy, uneducated about the candidates, or simply just not caring for it. So how can people be persuaded into voting? After Taylor Swift’s political endorsement in a 2018 senate race, people have an idea of how citizens can be encouraged to vote.  

On Oct. 7, Taylor Swift encouraged her millions of fans to register to vote via Instagram. On Oct. 17, Swift continued to urge her followers to register and vote by placing a link in her Instagram bio which has information on states’ early voting dates.

Swift backed Democratic candidates Phil Bredesen for senate and Jim Cooper, who is running for re-election in TN-5 in the United States, for House of Representatives in her home state of Tennessee. On the Republican side running for Senate is Marsha Blackburn, Swift wrote how she would normally vote for women running for office, but in this case she won’t. She won’t be voting for Blackburn because “her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies” her. According to FiveThirtyEight, Jim Cooper has an almost certain chance to win reelection. According to Vote.org, after Swift’s post, thousands of people between the ages of 18 and 29 registered to vote. However, we are yet to see if those people will actually vote on Election Day.

Young voters mostly spend their time on social media rather than watching T.V., therefore many of these young voters get their information from platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, etc. It appears that when Swift posted the photo on Instagram regarding the midterm election, people showed a boost in enthusiasm about the candidates and got persuaded into voting.

The platform she used to encourage her fans was a big factor in the voter registration spike, and being a celebrity with a large following played a role in the increase in voter registration as well.

In the past, Swift has been hesitant to voice her political opinions.

On the post, Swift wrote, “I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for human rights I believe we all deserve in this country.”

However, Swift’s political endorsement didn’t really affect many students at Annandale High.

“I saw the post, but it didn’t really influence me,” senior Javonte Durr-Cannon said, “I did not register to vote yet because I have been busy with schoolwork.”

Swift finally breaking her silence on political neutrality was a surprise to many people and everyone reacted differently to it.

“I think it’s a bit weird that Taylor Swift would give her political opinion without doing so in the past,” sophomore Iris Tran stated “But it worked and more people registered, which is great, but I think she may have been told to post that so voter registration would go up because of the huge influence she has on people with her platform.”

Some believe her encouraging voting is a positive whereas others disagree.

“I don’t think celebrities should tell their fans who their voting for,” Tran said. “If celebrities let their fans know who their voting for and why, fans may end up voting for that person and that vote would be biased, but celebrities should definitely encourage their fans to research about the candidates running and vote for whomever they think is right.”  

Social Studies teacher Margaret Richburg gave her perspective on Swift’s political influence.

“If people listen to her and research candidates and register to vote and then actively vote, then I’m in favor of her using her voice and platform that way,” Richburg said.

Some view Swift’s involvement in politics as an issue of free speech.

“I think politics is very personal,” Richburg said. “But I think if celebrities feel particularly strongly about something, that’s their right to use their voice, but they should also be careful given how influential they are and the large platform they have.”