In the two years that has been mostly comprised of headlines I never thought I’d read, it seems there’s little left in politics that manages to stir any element of surprise anymore. Donald Trump is President after 19 sexual harassment allegations. We’ve had alt-right Nazi’s referred to as “Some fine people.” There are babies in cages, an effort to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military, an FBI cover-up to place a conservative Supreme Court Judge nominee at the President’s behest. We’ve had adult film stars who’ve had affairs with Trump take center stage, Kim Kardashian taking meetings in the Oval Office, and now her (in)famous husband, Kanye West, will be too.
Since Trump took office in 216, American has flipped upside down. What was once good- things like equality and inclusion, is now bad. Racism and misogyny seem to be the new normal as Republicans aggressively push their divisive agendas.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect that morale among Republican candidates running for seats during November’s mid-term elections is high. The President has traveled across the country, hitting every small town and backwoods village off the beaten path in pursuit of amassing an army of followers. Trump and those who serve in his party have openly bragged about their perceived invincibility, even in the face of nationwide protests.
THE ONLY REASON TO VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT IS IF YOU’RE TIRED OF WINNING!
I'm not tired of winning........Victory!
It’s true that Republican confidence is at a record high. Sadly, the rest of us have witnessed the consequences of that as instances of hate based violence and attacks on minorities have increased exponentially as the conservative alignment evolves more into a Trump cult than a political party.
Who would have thought that pop music phenom Taylor Swift would strike such fear into the hearts of these conservative men and women on Capitol Hill, but she has.
On October 7th, a little less than a month before the midterms, the Grammy winning artist did something she’s never done before. She got political.
She demonstrated a democratic leaning, and condemned Tennessee conservative Republican Candidate Marsha Blackburn who had been the State front runner for Senate. Swift spoke of the necessity for equality, pointing out injustices that have politically targeted women, the LGBT community and people of color.
So, maybe you’re rolling your eyes. Another celebrity airing their political persuasions in public. It’s not uncommon. How many times have inconvenienced Republicans moaned about these famous democrats and their ridiculous desire for fairness and equal justice in an upended society?
Except, in the case of Swift, the impact was very real. For starters, she was speaking to an audience of over 110 Million people. She has more followers than former president Barack Obama who clocks in at 103 million and more than double that of President Donald Trump. Her reach is formidable, to say the least. Given these politicians often just preach to their own choir of voters who already know who they’re voting far, a reach into new territory is everything.
Much of the audience that Swift reaches via her social media is a largely untapped demographic- people between the ages of 18–24, many who have never voted before. In fact, our political system makes it intentionally difficult for college students who study away from home to register to vote. In the last election, the majority of them didn’t. The Republicans relied heavily on this.
Republicans have gone into red alert status, now. Many have come out and denied, despite the facts to the contrary, that Swift’s statement has any influence. They also want their base to believe that, while Swift’s fans may have mobilized for a minute, they’re too young and easily distracted to carry through with the process of actually voting. They’re hoping that the surge of registrations marks only an act of child-like impulse, provoked by a pop star idol, and by November, they will have forgotten all about it.
While it remains without question that Taylor Swift flexed quite the impressive political muscle during these times of hardship, especially for women, it is yet to be seen whether it will have any impact on the November election results.
In any case, Republicans are scrambling to find an impact equal to that which they’ve just taken…
That’s about the only equality that matters to them.
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