Historically, Taylor Swift tends to not spend too much time talking about politics, but that hasn’t been true in recent days. Over the weekend, she wrote a lengthy Instagram post in which she endorsed Democratic political candidates in Tennessee, which prompted responses from one of the candidates, conservative political commentators, and even Donald Trump. It turns out that her words carry significant political weight, as there was an “unprecedented” uptick in voter registrations following her post. She again got political and encouraged people to vote last night at the AMAs, and Swift may actually change the way Tennessee votes.
In a poll released on Sunday (based on data from before Swift’s post), Marsha Blackburn had an 8-point lead over Phil Bredesen, the candidate Swift supported for Tennessee’s U.S Senate race. It’s possible that the influx of new voter registrations following Swift’s post could sway the race, though, especially if the bulk of them are Democrat-leaning voters, as young people were in the 2016 election. It could also lead to an increase in young voters, as only about 50 percent of eligible people ages 18-29 voted in the 2016 general election.
Kate Tucker, a Nashville musician and co-founder and creative director of artist-driven civic advocacy organization BriteHeart, told Vice, “Maybe [Swift] activated a base that he didn’t anticipate having. And that’s my hope for our state — that maybe she’s tapping into something that none of us have quite figured out how to do, even though we’ve put a lot of time and energy into it.”
She also added, “[Swift] was super smart. She held her cards close and she waited until it mattered. […] Those people who want to say ‘Shut up and sing!’ — she’s been doing a good job of that for a long time, and now she’s decided it’s time to say something.”
(You can read our take on the reaction to Swift speaking politically here.)