Prior to 2018, Taylor Swift stayed very quiet when it came to politics, but one special person in her life encouraged her to voice her opinions. In an interview with Vanity Fair published on Feb. 17, Swift said boyfriend Joe Alwyn motivated her to speak out about politics. His support led the "Willow" singer to outline her Democratic stances in a revealing Instagram post in October 2018, endorsing Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and criticizing his Republican opponent, Martha Blackburn, ahead of the mid-term elections.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Swift said that she was taught to remain silent about politics as a country musician. "The Trump presidency forced me to lean in and educate myself," she said via email. "I found myself talking about government and the presidency and policy with my boyfriend [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."
The losses of Bredesen and other notable Democrats in the mid-term elections, like Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke, only fueled Swift to get more involved in politics, leading her to pen the 2020 voting anthem "Only the Young," heard in her Netflix documentary Miss Americana. "I didn’t want the defeat and hopelessness I felt for our country’s future to get the best of me," she said. "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."
After speaking out in October 2018, Swift has become a political advocate of sorts, endorsing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the 2020 election, criticizing Donald Trump for threatening violence on Black Lives Matter protesters, and raising awareness for the Equality Act in her "You Need to Calm Down" video. Perhaps most notably, Swift called on Tennessee to remove statues of confederate figures after her home state vowed to replace one of Edward Carmack that was torn down by protesters.
"As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things," she wrote on Twitter in June 2020. "Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest were DESPICABLE figures in our state history and should be treated as such."
Now, as she told the outlet, Swift is grateful for her newfound political 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," she wrote.