New Kid in Town

Taylor Swift and the madness of politics


If you haven’t heard, Taylor Swift abandoned her neutrality on politics over the weekend and announced to the world on Instagram that she was an ultra-liberal, left-wing, Hillary Clinton-loving Democrat.

At least that’s how many people are reacting.

So what actually happened?

Swift went on Instagram Sunday and announced she was voting for Democrat Phil Bredesen in the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee and for Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) in Tennessee’s 5th District Congressional race. Much of Swift’s post was about her opposition to Marsha Blackburn, Bredesen’s Republican opponent and currently one of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives.

Keep in mind that both Bredesen and Cooper are moderate Democrats (yes, they still exist!). Cooper is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition in the House, which consists of fiscally conservative Democrats, while Bredesen — the former governor of Tennessee — is known as socially liberal but fiscally conservative. Politically, both might be closer to Joe Manchin (the Democratic senator from West Virginia who often votes with the GOP) than Joe Biden — Bredesen even said that he supported Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, for goodness sake!

Hardly a declaration of ultra-liberal, left-wing politics — but that’s not how many people see it.

Despite the fact that Swift did not claim that she was a Democrat in her post, that has not stopped many in the media — and on social media — from assuming that she is. USA Today said many Swift fans are celebrating her newly public progressive leanings. (Wait, Bredesen and Cooper are progressives? I thought progressive meant, like, Bernie Sanders?)

Meanwhile, Dan Gainor, a columnist for Fox News, derided Swift for her “open liberalism” that was “clearly designed as a change in the narrative after the Hollywood Left lost the Supreme Court fight.” (Again, didn’t Bredesen support Kavanaugh?)

However, the icing on the cake might have came from Damian Reilly at The Spectator. He wrote, “Maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally found the Democrat to take on Trump.”

Are you serious?

First of all, Swift won’t even be old enough to run for president until 2024. Secondly, Swift did not even announce she had joined a political party in her post, so there is no guarantee she would even run as a Democrat if she did (or as a Republican, either).

“I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country,” Swift said in her Instagram post — hardly an “I am a liberal Democrat” statement.

However, as big of a story as Swift’s foray into America’s political debate is, I think the even bigger story is how many of us have reacted to it.

For one, it says that too many of us generalize way too much when it comes to how we see politics. Too many people think all Democrats (or anyone who criticizes President Donald Trump) is an ultra-liberal left-winger. On the other side, too many people assume that all Republicans (or anyone who criticizes the Democrats) is an ultra-conservative right-winger. And that’s just not true. Not every Democrat is as liberal as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., just like not every Republican is as conservative as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

It’s also more proof that too many of us judge people simply because of their political views. Some conservative Taylor Swift fans have quit listening to her music because “she’s a liberal now.” Others on the Left who are now celebrating Swift’s supposed conversion to liberalism used to deride her as a closeted Trump supporter because she did not speak up on her own political views.

People are more than their political views, and the sooner we realize that, the better America will be.

So what do I think about all of this? I never really have ever listened to Taylor Swift’s music; in fact, most of the music I listen to is older than she is. Musical taste — now that’s what’s important.

New Kid in Town