The Trailblazer

The Line Between Celebrities and Politics

Alexandra Truszkowska

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Companies use celebrity sponsorships as huge influences for their products or services. Whether it’s a water bottle, shoe brand, weight loss system, or phone plan, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, and Taylor Swift have been on them all. But, there’s been a certain change in their regular broadcasting in 2018 – it’s no longer shampoo and conditioner – it’s American politics.

 

Although many say to leave the politics to the politicians, some celebrities have decided to go against that and embrace political activism like an expensive Nike deal. Whether it’s telling their opinion or working towards a better justice system, there’s no stopping these celebs.

 

Pop singer and songwriter Taylor Swift recently posted a lengthy Instagram post where she endorsed Tennessee’s (her home state) Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, for the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th. Bresden is currently trailing eight points behind Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn, and Swift’s contribution and endorsement could mean the make or break of his senetiary career.

 

This is Swift’s first public political outcry after standing on the sidelines for so long. She stated it was “due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.” Although some state that after she finished her Reputation Tour, she “cashed” the Republican check and started making way to Democrats.

 

Possibly a strong correlation to her post, voter registration jumped. Although there is an usual increase in regististration just before deadlines, it seems more than a coincidence that there were up to 65,000 more registrations in a 24-hour period (according to Vote.org’s director of communications, Kamari Guthrie), an unusual high. With a usual amount of 14,078 visits per day, there were 155,940 unique visitors coming to Vote.org in the 24 hours after Swift’s post, and it’s clear that more people registered and visited the site when she spoke to her 112 million followers.

 

Previous Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) disliked Swift’s post enough to tweet out, “So @taylorswift13 has every right to be political but it won’t impact election unless we allow 13 yr old girls to vote,” he wrote on Monday morning. “Still with #MarshaBlackburn.” See responses to his tweet here.

 

However, Huckabee’s reference of knowledge isn’t totally correct. Although there are many young fans, most grew up with Taylor since the early days. If Swift’s fans were 15 years old when her single, Fifteen, was released in 2009, the fans would be 24 now – well over the voting limit. Even so, with Swift’s current demographic, 80% are made up of Millenials and Gen Xs (birth years range from the early 1960s to 1997), who are also above the voting age.

 

Kim Kardashian, known for her television appearances and a few other things (click here to read more about that), isn’t a celebrity who would seem to be interested in politics, but earlier this year, she surprised even the most liberal by contacting Donald Trump and Jared Kushner in order to release a low-level drug offender, Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving a life sentence from jail. Kardashian, a self-proclaimed Democrat who tweeted #HillaryForPresident, had no trouble contacting the current President to speak about prison reform and sentencing, and vowed to work with Chris Young, another convict.

 

Kardashian’s husband, Kanye West, has made his own headlines in September 2015 when he promised to run for the presidential race in 2020 and then pushed it back to 2024 (in order to avoid possibly taking down current President Trump in a second election). He promises to not “f*** up the paper” a.k.a. to not decrease employment rates. Until the year comes, we’ll have to wait and see if this promise keeps up.

 

Although some may still hide behind Pepsi cans when faced with social and racial injustice (in reference to Kendall Jenner’s 2017 commercial), many aren’t afraid to face the fears of backlash. In a world where anyone can have a voice it seems like those who already had one are taking a stronger stance for what they believe in.

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “The Line Between Celebrities and Politics”

  1. Cindy Wagner on October 19th, 2018 8:36 AM

    I really enjoyed this article. It was very well written and made some very good points. I got so engrossed in the article I forgot that it was our high school paper, I thought I was reading a Bergen Record article. Great Job!

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