On the 8th of October 2018 something amazing happened, something that might just shake up the upcoming midterm elections in the US: Taylor Swift got political! The famously apolitical country-singer-turned-pop-star posted her now iconic endorsement of two Democrats running for the Senate and the House of Representatives in Swift’s home state of Tennessee. Now Donald Trump likes her music 25% less. This is a big deal. I the days following Swift’s unexpected Instagram announcement, voter registration in the US boomed, especially among 18-24 year olds. This could spell huge trouble for Donald Trump and his posse of conservative white dudes. Swift’s sudden decision to engage in politics may have come as a surprise to many, but she is just the latest in a long line of musicians using their fame to encourage fans to vote. In 1990, Madonna released the first ‘Rock the Vote’ PSA, and in the years following, numerous celebrities from Aerosmith to Miley Cyrus have gotten involved with the organisation. So why should we care? Young people notoriously have the lowest turnout in UK general elections, with only 57% of 18-24 year olds voting in the last general election, compared to 84% of over 70’s. With Swift joining many of her peers in inspiring a whole new generation of young people in the States to register to vote, hopefully the effect can carry across the pond. With so many students having recently moved to university, many are not registered to vote at their new addresses. It’s super easy to register to vote online, and students can be registered at both their home and term time address. We may not have midterm elections looming, but with the current political climate, and increasing calls for a People’s Vote on Brexit, I would encourage every single student on campus to go online and make sure they are registered to vote.
When Pop Gets Political