In recent years, voter apathy has hit an all-time low in both the US and Canada. Based on studies done on voters from past elections, young people aren’t voting as much as their older counterparts.
There are many reasons why young people are hesitant to vote, such as having a busy lifestyle that prevents them from finding out more about their local representatives or feeling alienated by candidates and parties that cater to the growing group of older voters in the US.
Despite these factors, I would argue that it’s incredibly important that young people go out and vote now. Older people tend to vote more conservatively because their privileged lifestyles enable them to live longer, healthier lives. People who are less-privileged or younger, tend to vote in the opposite direction because of their different lifestyles. Thus, If the minority group does not vote in the upcoming midterm election because the older generation is the only one voting, only the views of one group are going to make it into the houses where government decisions are made.
However, just in time for the US midterm elections, the solution to voter apathy may have been found. The cure? Pop-star Taylor Swift.
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
On October 7, she posted a moody Instagram picture. Though inconspicuous at first glance, the moody selfie was actually part of a bigger message. Under the picture, Swift expressed support for two democratic nominees in her hometown Tennessee riding — Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper. She urged her fans to follow her lead and to go out and vote too.
Since Swift has remained notoriously apolitical for most of her career, the impact of her post was grand. The post now has approximately 2 million likes.
A website used for registering voters, Vote.org, commented that following her post, there was a huge spike in voter registrations for people under the age of 30. And while there is no definite way to prove that Swift is the sole reason that all these people registered, employees of the site don’t think that these events were mutually exclusive.
While we also don’t know if the idea for the post came 100 per cent from the pop star herself, rather than her PR team, the impact of Swift’s post is a positive thing. Critics have mentioned that e fans might just be registering because Taylor Swift told them to, not because they are actually informed. However, no place in her post does Swift tell people who they should vote for.
In fact, she does the opposite. The pop-star encourages fans to think about their personal values and beliefs when they vote. Rather than urging people to just vote blindly, Swift’s comment pushes for people who may have not engaged in politics otherwise to start having conversations, to research the political representatives in their state and what they stand for online.
Swift isn’t telling anyone that their voting beliefs are wrong or to just vote for whoever; she’s saying that voting is important and that nobody is actually too busy to vote in the midterm election (even a busy pop-star can do it).
Swift took politics and voting, two things that are typically regarded as boring and made them seem interesting and “groovy” by bringing them into her sphere of influence — the ultimate power move. Because of her post, more young people than ever are registered to vote. This is good news because it means that there’s more chance for change in the makeup of lawmakers in America.
So, will Swift stop Republicans from ruling America? Unfortunately, it’s unlikely. Swift is a pop star, not a politician. That being said, even though Swift’s iconic IG post might not be the ultimate cure to your Trump terrors, Swift did make a significant stride towards banishing voter apathy in the upcoming US election.