Once notoriously apolitical, Taylor Swift jumped into the political arena during the Donald Trump administration. She credits her boyfriend Joe Alwyn as one of the reasons she was able to find her voice.
“As a country musician, I was always told it’s better to stay out of [politics],” said Taylor Swift in a new interview with Vanity Fair. While discussing the creation of her song, “Only The Young,” Taylor, 31, explained how — after staying quiet during the runup to the 2016 presidential election and the first half of Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House – she felt like she had to finally speak up. “The Trump presidency forced me to lean in and educate myself. I found myself talking about government and the presidency and policy with my boyfriend [Joe Alwyn], who supported me in speaking out.”
“I started talking to my family and friends about politics and learning as much as I could about where I stand,” added Taylor. In 2018, Taylor broke her political silence to endorse Democrat Phil Bredesen in the Tennessee Senate race against Republican Marsha Blackburn. Senator Blackburn would fend off the challenge. Despite the pain of watching her candidate lose, Taylor said she was glad she raised her voice. “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.”
Taylor discussed how she wrote “Only the Young” – a song that debuted in her 2020 documentary, Miss Americana, and has Oscar buzz around it – after the 2018 midterms. “Almost the entire process of creating that song, I was fighting back tears because I was so sad about the results of the midterm elections in my state and the losses faced by superb Democratic candidates in states like Georgia and Texas,” she told Vanity Fair. “I didn’t want the defeat and hopelessness I felt for our country’s future to get the best of me. I didn’t want to weep. I wanted to have hope. Writing ‘Only the Young’ helped me push through that moment in my life and gave me the hope to keep fighting for what I believe is right.”
Since becoming political, Taylor vowed to do “everything I can” to unseat Donald Trump in the 2020 election. She also used her platform – be it the podium at awards shows or her Twitter account – to blast his policies and his attempts to “subvert and destroy our right to vote and vote safely.”
Taylor later explained why she refused to publicly endorse Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. “Unfortunately…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,” she told Vogue in 2019. “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?”
While Joe has supported Taylor’s political leanings, she has supported his professional career, as well. Recently, Joe revealed his involvement in the Hulu and BBC 3 adaptation of Conversations With Friends. Taylor, in a ‘low-key, don’t-pay-attention-to-me’ way, supported her boyfriend with the modern equivalent of PDA: a “Like” on his Instagram post announcing the new show.