Taylor Swift’s Meteoric Rise From Little-Known Country Star to Political Influencer 

Brian Friedman / shutterstock.com
Brian Friedman / shutterstock.com

In early October, The View co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin suggested that Taylor Swift could have a realistic chance at winning the presidency, especially if facing Donald Trump. Griffin, a former Trump staffer, said that if anyone could beat Trump, it would be the wildly popular megastar. 

Per a recent political poll by Emerson College, Swift’s overall popularity, 43% view her positively, 38% are neutral, and 19% view her unfavorably. But regarding a hypothetical Trump, Biden, and Swift matchup, only 6% of those polled would vote for her. 

One could argue that low approval ratings haven’t caused former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to drop out of the Republican primary, but the bigger question is how Taylor Swift became the subject of a hypothetical presidential race. 

Swift, born on December 13, 1989, in Reading, Pennsylvania, is an American singer-songwriter and actress. As a child, she showed an early interest in music and performed at local talent shows. At 14, Swift and her family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue her country music career. 

Swift’s breakthrough came with her self-titled debut album, “Taylor Swift,” released in 2006. While the album’s success established her as a rising star in country music, she transitioned to pop music with albums like “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” and “1985.” 

Swift’s unparalleled popularity causes her shows to sell out within minutes, and the average price to see her can cost more than $2000. In November, she was named Person of the Year by Time Magazine. 

Swift uses her popularity to highlight her political views. She has found a way to anger everyone at once, drawing fire from conservatives with her liberal views and progressives by not being vocal enough. 

During her early years, Swift drew anger for choosing to remain apolitical. That changed in 2018 when she threw herself into the political arena with other singers such as Garth Brooks and Bruce Springsteen by endorsing former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and Democratic House candidate Jim Cooper. She took to Instagram to denounce Tennessee’s Republican Senate candidate, Marsha Blackburn. 

She said in her 2020 Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, that to her, Trump didn’t stand for Christian values and that she regretted not speaking out against him during his 2016 presidential race. 

Swift’s posting of a nonpartisan voter registration link in 2018 ushered in a massive spike in visitors to the site, and the pop star was on her way to becoming a political activist. 

In 2020, she criticized what she perceived as Trump’s ineffective leadership surrounding COVID-19. She also accused him of cheating to win the 2020 election and said she believed the former president thought the U.S. was an “autocracy.” She urged voters to vote early and tweeted, “We will vote you out in November.” 

In 2019, Taylor Swift released the single “You Need to Calm Down” as part of her album “Lover.” Featuring prominent LGBTQ celebrities and extremely critical of “anti-LGBTQ” sentiment, the song and its music video are hailed as a pro-LGBT anthem.  

While the song was generally well-received for its positive message and support for the LGBTQ community, some left-wing critics argued that Swift was appropriating the LGBTQ cause for her benefit and was not a genuine ally of the cause. 

Swift initiated a petition on Change.org and encouraged her fans to write letters to their senators, urging them to pass the Equality Act, calling for an end to the “legal loopholes” that left some individuals susceptible to “hatred and bigotry.” 

During Pride Month, Swift praised her fans at a concert in Chicago for the solidarity and acceptance they demonstrated by singing the lyrics of “You Need to Calm Down” and expressed her desire for acceptance, peace, and safety for all. 

Following the SCOTUS decision in Roe v. Wade, Swift took to social media to express her fear and disappointment about the “setback” in women’s rights. Over the years, she has donated to gun control organizations and spoken out against ongoing gun violence.  

But Swift has taken heat from those critical of the wealth she has accumulated from her concerts, strategic partnerships, movie appearances, merchandise, and album sales, with critics calling her a capitalist. Her current net worth is well over $1.1 billion. She has a real estate portfolio valued at over $80 million, owns two private jets, and spends millions in charitable donations.  

From teen country star to one of the most famous pop stars in recent history, Swift’s meteoric rise as a political influencer has been…swift. 

And with over half of America claiming to be die-hard “Swifties,” it’s doubtful that she will ever hide behind the curtain of political apathy again.