By Maya Workowski || Contributing Writer
Social media allows people to connect with celebrities in a way that was never dreamed possible 20 or even 10 years ago. Today, we face the effects of this immediate ability to connect with influential people in many ways—especially politically. Taylor Swift wrote a long Instagram post on October 7 explaining that she wanted voters in Tennessee to “educate [themselves] on the candidates running in [their] state and vote based on who most closely represents [their] values.” She said this after spelling out her (long-withheld) political beliefs, which include supporting the LGBTQ+ community and helping to support an end to racial discrimination. Taylor Swift in particular has been under fire in the past for her beliefs on what feminism is, so I think it’s brave that she is now coming out with support for Democrats.
Her persuasive post then contributed to a significant spike in online voter registration. However the next question is, will this result in an increase in voter turnout? The 18-24 year old demographic usually has the lowest turnout, and that is probably the demographic that Swift has influenced the most. These people historically have been working and supporting themselves on voting day, so it’s logistically harder for them to leave work and get to the voting booth.
I think the problem comes in with the same concept Americans have been dealing with since the Industrial Revolution and even more so today: instant gratification. Yes, more people registered to vote online, but even that does not guarantee more people will vote—even if Swift’s post was convincing and had good points. Viewers of Swift’s post were probably touched in the moment and wanted to do something right then and there to show that support, but I have a hard time believing that they’ll actually show up on voting day.
What I liked about Taylor Swift’s post was her use of technical and specific voting results that her state representatives chose in the past. She didn’t just say to vote for Democrats because she likes them; in fact, she did not say that at all. She stated her beliefs and that she wants others to follow their beliefs; the core message was to VOTE!
Sophomore Maya Workowski is a Contributing Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.