The 2020 presidential election race may be well underway, but one of the biggest questions from the 2016 election lingers: Why didn’t Taylor Swift speak up?
In a new interview with Vogue, Swift finally offers an explanation for her silence three years ago while pop rivals like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry went full-tilt supporting Hillary Clinton. In a conversation with Abby Aguirre, Swift said an endorsement from her could’ve done as much harm as good, given that she was taking criticism following Kim Kardashian’s release of a recording where Swift seemingly gave Kanye West her blessing to rap about her in his song “Famous.”
Swift told Aguirre:
Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement. He was going around saying, I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you. I just knew I wasn’t going to help. Also, you know, the summer before that election, all people were saying was She’s calculated. She’s manipulative. She’s not what she seems. She’s a snake. She’s a liar. These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary. Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability? Look, snakes of a feather flock together. Look, the two lying women. The two nasty women. Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear. So I disappeared. In many senses.
This still doesn’t explain Swift’s silence on other stories from around the time of the 2016 election, like her popularity among white supremacists. But at least the admission does shine a little light on Swift’s mindset.
In any case, Swift seems intent on being a lot more vocal this election season. Ahead of the 2018 midterms, Swift gave a rare endorsement for a Democratic nominee, Phil Bredesen, over Republican Marsha Blackburn in the Tennessee Senate race, and she has since been vocal about her support for gun control and equal rights legislation, positioning herself as an LGBTQ advocate, if a clumsy one. Swift attributed her newfound outspokenness in part to Todrick Hall, who she says asked her what she would do if her son were gay. “The fact that he had to ask me … shocked me and made me realize that I had not made my position clear enough or loud enough,” she told Vogue. “If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking. It was kind of devastating to realize that I hadn’t been publicly clear about that.”