Clinton or Trump: Why won't Taylor Swift say who she's voting for?

By Alice Vincent

Fans of Taylor Swift are mad that the singer hasn't voiced her opinion on this year's US election. Photo / Instagram
Fans of Taylor Swift are mad that the singer hasn't voiced her opinion on this year's US election. Photo / Instagram

There are a matter of hours left before the US wakes up to a new president in one of the most controversial, and closest, races for the White House in history.

On Monday night in the US (Tuesday NZ time) some of music's most prominent stars came together to publicly rally for Hillary Clinton. Beyoncé, her husband Jay Z and Barack Obama favourite Chance the Rapper all appear in a video explaining why they are supporting the Democrat candidate.

While in Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi joined Clinton, her husband and her daughter Chelsea as well as Obama and the First Lady to address the masses.

They are not alone: hordes of high-profile musicians have publicly said that they are With Her. Cher, Stevie Wonder Carole King, Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, Britney Spears, John Legend, Jim Parsons, Sting, Snoop Dogg, Ariana Grande and Quincy Jones are a handful among the many.

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But there is one notable absence from Clinton's starry campaign trail: Taylor Swift. The singer was today pictured entering a polling booth, but her fans are none the wiser about which candidate she may have cast her ballot for.

She has been named one of Time's 100 most influential people in the icons category, keeping company with Pope Francis and Malala Yousafzai. Swift was also the highest earning pop star in 2015 and, more recently 2016. She has a collective social media reach just shy of 250 million followers. So why is she not using her influence in the most divisive presidential race in US history?

Since the release of her fifth album, 1989, and the development of her "squad" (a group of other famous and beautiful young women that appear in Swift's entourage, on her stage and, most frequently, in her Instagram feed), Swift has tentatively proclaimed herself a feminist and supporter of fellow women. And yet the star has maintained a steely silence on Trump vs Hillary throughout the presidential race - to the extent that some are even suggesting she has links with Trump.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

As with crying on her guitar, Swift has long maintained a policy of keeping schtum when it comes to politics. The last time she really spoke about her views was in 2009, when she told Rolling Stone about voting for Obama: "I've never seen this country so happy about a political decision in my entire time of being alive. I'm so glad this was my first election."

In a 2012 interview Swift told Time that she had been following the race, but didn't want to share her opinions: "I try to keep myself as educated and informed as possible. But I don't talk about politics because it might influence other people. And I don't think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for."

However, Swift, who had at the time just released Red, the country pop-crossover album that would cement her international fame, also didn't seem too clear about whether she would vote, or how. When asked, she replied: "I'm going to be out of the country, so I'll have to get a special form, I think."

On Monday night, Swift resolutely ignored paparazzi who were asking who she would vote for ahead of polling day.

Could her squad influence her decision? Girls writer, director and star Lena Dunham has long been a vocal supporter of Clinton, and before her Obama. But Swift's best friend, Karlie Kloss, is dating Josha Kushner, the younger brother of Jared, who is married to Ivanka Trump.

What commentators have made more of, however, is the allegiance of Swift's supposed enemy, Katy Perry. The Roar singer was thought to have been the subject of Swift's diss-track Bad Blood, in which a dozen of pop culture's finest stars were brought together for a Grammy Award-winning video.

The situation caused Perry to post a tweet in reference to Swift's claim to support all women. But her next move, becoming one of the first pop stars to openly support Clinton, arguably associated her with a far more powerful "squad" than Swift's gang of Victoria's Secret models - Perry has become the preferred pop star of the potential first female US president.

While Perry's social feeds are increasingly full of her support for Clinton (as are those belonging to Miley Cyrus, who campaigned for Clinton in Virginia), Swift's have remained quiet. She last tweeted nearly a week ago, in support of a new song, while on Instagram she has been sharing photographs from the birthday celebration of another squad member, New Zealand singer Lorde.

The silence has been picked up on by her fans and the public:

Whether we hear from Swift about the election or not remains unclear - although the paparazzi will undoubtedly be trying to get a photograph of her heading to the polling station - but her silence speaks far louder than if she had pledged her support for either candidate.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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