Taylor Swift credited her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, with inspiring her to start dabbling in political activism in recent years.
After staying notoriously apolitical for most of her career, Swift broke her silence in 2018 ahead of the midterm elections. At the time, she released a lengthy Instagram post encouraging her millions of followers to vote for Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen, who was running for Senate against Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee.
Speaking to Vanity Fair in a recent interview, Swift says it was having the ability to talk about her political views out with her boyfriend as well as other friends and family that gave her the courage to finally speak out publicly.
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“As a country musician, I was always told it’s better to stay out of [politics],” Swift told the outlet via email. “The Trump presidency forced me to lean in and educate myself. I found myself talking about government and the presidency and policy with my boyfriend [actor Joe Alwyn], who supported me in speaking out. I started talking to my family and friends about politics and learning as much as I could about where I stand. I’m proud to have moved past fear and self-doubt, and to endorse and support leadership that moves us beyond this divisive, heartbreaking moment in time.”
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Despite Swift’s endorsement leading to a spike in voter registration, Blackburn ultimately defeated Bredesen. Seeing that defeat as well as defeats for other Democratic candidates, such as Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial loss in Georgia and Beto O’Rourke’s Senate loss in Texas, was devastating for the singer. The fallout of her first public political defeat was covered in the documentary “Miss Americana,” which also covered the artist pouring those feelings into the political anthem, “Only the Young.”
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“I didn’t want the defeat and hopelessness I felt for our country’s future to get the best of me. I didn’t want to weep,” she told the outlet. “I wanted to have hope. Writing ‘Only the Young’ helped me push through that moment in my life and gave me the hope to keep fighting for what I believe is right.”
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Since then, Swift has been less shy about speaking out politically and recently noted that she hopes the release of the track will be a rallying call for future mobilization by her fans.