Taylor Swift said the Donald Trump presidency forced her “to lean in and educate” herself about politics.
Swift spoke to Vanity Fair about her 2020 documentary Miss Americana, which details her songwriting process and how the Trump presidency forced her to finally speak out on politics after years of silence.
“As a country musician, I was always told it’s better to stay out of [politics],” she explained.
“The Trump presidency forced me to lean in and educate myself.”
In the interview, she recalled how she endorsed Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen during the 2018 midterm elections in her home state of Tennessee. But her support was unable to deliver a victory for Bredesen. He lost to Republican rival Marsha Blackburn, who Swift described as “Trump in a wig”.
The move marked the beginning of Swift opening up about politics. Miss Americana captures the moments when Swift breaks her silence about politics, her endorsement of Bredesen and then the devastation when he lost.
She said her song “Only the Young” helped her “push through that moment in my life and gave me hope to keep fighting for what I believe is right”.
Nine months after she wrote the song, Taylor Swift gave gratis license for it to be used in a voter-turnout video from California congressman Eric Swalwell. The video blended a year’s worth of news headlines including the pandemic and mass protests for social justice with Swift’s song.
Swift said she had become more politically minded as a result of her music and the fallout of the Trump presidency. She said she found herself talking about the government, the presidency and policy with her boyfriend and friends and family.
“I started talking to my family and friends about politics and learning as much as I could about where I stand,” Swift said. “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.”