After years of keeping herself at a largely indifferent remove, Taylor Swift has elaborated on her political ideology in a new interview with Rolling Stone.
Harkening back to the perceived better times of the Obama years, Swift said, among other things, that she regrets not getting more involved in the 2016 election, and the way her allegiances or lack thereof have been manipulated by bad actors.
For years her reluctance to stake out a claim one way or the other made her something of a useful political totem, including, notably, when neo-Nazis and alt-right trolls adopted her as an Aryan ideal.
“Firstly, Taylor Swift is a pure Aryan goddess, like something out of classical Greek poetry. Athena reborn,” Andre Anglin of the white supremacist blog the Daily Stormer wrote in 2016.
The admiration is not mutual, although Swift clarified she was not aware of her adoption for the racist cause at the time.
“There’s literally nothing worse than white supremacy. It’s repulsive. There should be no place for it,” she told Rolling Stone.
Now she’s trying to learn as much as she can about politics, calling it something she’s become obsessed with.
“I was living in this sort of political ambivalence, because the person I voted for had always won,” she explained, echoing the thoughts of many liberals who never felt obliged to pay attention before the Trump era.
“We were in such an amazing time when Obama was president because foreign nations respected us. We were so excited to have this dignified person in the White House. My first election was voting for him when he made it into office, and then voting to re-elect him. I think a lot of people are like me, where they just didn’t really know that this could happen.”
Now she’s focused on the 2020 election, she said, hoping that her involvement might help more than it hurts the Democrats’ cause.
“I also don’t want it to backfire again, because I do feel that the celebrity involvement with Hillary’s campaign was used against her in a lot of ways,” she said.
In 2012 she told Time magazine that she didn’t “talk about politics because it might influence other people”, and that she didn’t think she knew “enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for”.
Then in 2018 she had surprisingly come out for Phil Bredesen, candidate for Senate, and Jim Cooper for the US House in her home state of Tennessee. Bredesen would ultimately lose, but Cooper, who won, said Swift’s endorsement was like “manna from heaven” and called it “one of the great honors” of his life in an interview with the Associated Press.
At the time of the endorsements many of her fans on the right said she had made a huge mistake career-wise. Donald Trump said he now liked her music “about 25% less”.
Lest any voters on the left think it’s now safe to adopt Swift into their ranks, as of now she maintains the ideology of a centrist Democrat.
“I do think, as a party, we need to be more of a team,” she said. “With Republicans, if you’re wearing that red hat, you’re one of them. And if we’re going to do anything to change what’s happening, we need to stick together. We need to stop dissecting why someone’s on our side or if they’re on our side in the right way or if they phrased it correctly. We need to not have the right kind of Democrat and the wrong kind of Democrat. We need to just be like, ‘You’re a Democrat? Sick. Get in the car. We’re going to the mall.’”