Taylor Swift spent her entire career putting up an apolitical front, but that all changed last October when she announced her endorsement of House member Jim Cooper and former governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen in his race for a Senate seat on Instagram. Swift explained in her post that her silence throughout the years was due to previously being "reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions."
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Taylor delved even further into what factored into her silence, explaining why she believes that being a country artist forced her at a young age to veer as far away from politics as possible.
"I come from country music," she said. "The number one thing they absolutely drill into you as a country artist, and you can ask any other country artist this, is 'Don’t be like the Dixie Chicks!'"
In 2002, when Swift was only 13 years old, the Dixie Chicks faced immense backlash over their criticism of then-President George W. Bush's Iraq war where the trio expressed how "ashamed" they were that Bush was from the same state, Texas, as them.
"I watched country music snuff that candle out," Taylor recalls. "The most amazing group we had, just because they talked about politics. And they were getting death threats. They were made such an example that basically every country artist that came after that, every label tells you, 'Just do not get involved, no matter what.'" Swift's latest album Lover features the Dixie Chicks on the touching song, "Soon You'll Get Better."
Swift also admits that her avoidance of anything related to politics was simply because she didn't feel "educated enough" to speak on a subject that would go on to carry so much weight.
"I hate to admit this, but I felt that I wasn’t educated enough on it," she said. "Because I hadn’t actively tried to learn about politics in a way that I felt was necessary for me, making statements that go out to hundreds of millions of people."
Swift acknowledges that the timing of her political activism—two years into Trump's presidency—wasn't the greatest, especially since she says she "of course" would've endorsed Hillary Clinton. Now, she wants to do anything she can to help steer this country in the right direction, starting with the upcoming presidential election.
"I can’t believe we’re here," Swift said. "It’s really shocking and awful. And I just wanna do everything I can for 2020. I wanna figure out exactly how I can help, what are the most effective ways to help. 'Cause this is just…" She sighs again. "This is not it."