Right: Photo by Eva Rinaldi on Flickr, Left: Photo from Wikimedia Commons
By Chelsea Sullivan
Celebrities have a powerful voice more than ever before, and now, that voice has been particularly delving into politics.
During the past few weeks, Taylor Swift and Kanye West have both become vocal on political issues. As a result, both fans and non-fans alike have responded on Instagram and other social media platforms.
Swift made an announcement on Instagram that she would not be supporting Marsha Blackburn, the only female running for senator in the state of Tennessee.
“I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office,” the singer revealed in her post.
She could not, however, vote for Blackburn. Swift spoke strongly against the candidate’s voting record and her failure to support issues such as the legal protection of women from domestic violence and rape.
This is Swift’s first experience in political activism.
“In the past, I have been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but… I feel very differently about that now,” she said.
She ended her statement by encouraging young people who have recently turned 18 to register to vote.
Generation Z, people born in the late 1900s and early 2000s who almost all grew up on social media, are gradually gaining the right to vote, which is bound to turn the tide of politics. So far, it has been rare for this generation to vote in anything other than presidential elections. Most do not even know anything about midterm candidates.
In the two days following Swift’s statement though, over 2,000 people registered to vote in Tennessee. According to an interview by Buzzfeed News with Kamari Guthrie, Director of Communications at Vote.org, 65,000 people in the US registered to vote in the 24 hours after the post was made.
The election is set to be a close one, and Swift may have single-handedly made an impact on its results.
Kanye West’s impact may not have been as inspirational and, so far, has not led to rises in voting rates. Regardless, it was still powerful as he took an entirely different approach from Swift. West showed his support for Trump in an appearance on Saturday Night Live as well as on Instagram.
The post that gained him so much recent attention showed him wearing a Make America Great Again hat, which, “made him feel like superman,” accompanied by a caption about abolishing the 13th Amendment. He later clarified this statement by claiming he meant that he wanted to amend the 13th Amendment.
His statements went viral on social media, but the important question is, will it make any new voters vote Republican? A largely democratic-leaning generation could be easily swayed to vote against a figure like Blackburn, but do celebrities have enough influence to cause young adults to become more fond of Trump, who many have little to no support for?
Rather than a political reaction, West’s actions have only caused controversy on social media. However, next month’s midterm elections have the potential to prove otherwise.
Disclaimer: This is a blog post in which an opinion is established. We encourage our readers to reach their own conclusions based on reading several articles that support and refute an opinion. The opinions established in this article do not represent the beliefs or ideals held by the Stony Brook Independent.