In recent years, voter apathy has hit an all-time low in both the US and Canada. Based on studies done on voters from past elections, young people aren’t voting as much as their older counterparts.
There are many reasons why young people are hesitant to vote, such as having a busy lifestyle that prevents them from finding out more about their local representatives or feeling alienated by candidates and parties that cater to the growing group of older voters in the US.
Despite these factors, I would argue that it’s incredibly important that young people go out and vote now. Older people tend to vote more conservatively because their privileged lifestyles enable them to live longer, healthier lives. People who are less-privileged or younger, tend to vote in the opposite direction because of their different lifestyles. Thus, If the minority group does not vote in the upcoming midterm election because the older generation is the only one voting, only the views of one group are going to make it into the houses where government decisions are made.
However, just in time for the US midterm elections, the solution to voter apathy may have been found. The cure? Pop-star Taylor Swift.
On October 7, she posted a moody Instagram picture. Though inconspicuous at first glance, the moody selfie was actually part of a bigger message. Under the picture, Swift expressed support for two democratic nominees in her hometown Tennessee riding — Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper. She urged her fans to follow her lead and to go out and vote too.
Since Swift has remained notoriously apolitical for most of her career, the impact of her post was grand. The post now has approximately 2 million likes.
A website used for registering voters, Vote.org, commented that following her post, there was a huge spike in voter registrations for people under the age of 30. And while there is no definite way to prove that Swift is the sole reason that all these people registered, employees of the site don’t think that these events were mutually exclusive.
While we also don’t know if the idea for the post came 100 per cent from the pop star herself, rather than her PR team, the impact of Swift’s post is a positive thing. Critics have mentioned that e fans might just be registering because Taylor Swift told them to, not because they are actually informed. However, no place in her post does Swift tell people who they should vote for.
In fact, she does the opposite. The pop-star encourages fans to think about their personal values and beliefs when they vote. Rather than urging people to just vote blindly, Swift’s comment pushes for people who may have not engaged in politics otherwise to start having conversations, to research the political representatives in their state and what they stand for online.
Swift isn’t telling anyone that their voting beliefs are wrong or to just vote for whoever; she’s saying that voting is important and that nobody is actually too busy to vote in the midterm election (even a busy pop-star can do it).
Swift took politics and voting, two things that are typically regarded as boring and made them seem interesting and “groovy” by bringing them into her sphere of influence — the ultimate power move. Because of her post, more young people than ever are registered to vote. This is good news because it means that there’s more chance for change in the makeup of lawmakers in America.
So, will Swift stop Republicans from ruling America? Unfortunately, it’s unlikely. Swift is a pop star, not a politician. That being said, even though Swift’s iconic IG post might not be the ultimate cure to your Trump terrors, Swift did make a significant stride towards banishing voter apathy in the upcoming US election.