Skip to content

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Taylor Swift's fan base is increasing in swing states

Taylor Swift
Ashok Kumar/TAS24/Getty Images

Nevins is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and co-founder and board chairman of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

On Feb. 1, I posed a question to readers of The Fulcrum: “Could Taylor Swift be the biggest election influencer of them all?

I pointed out that the youth vote will be a critical factor in determining the winner of the 2024 presidential election. Yet paradoxically many believe that, due to the advanced age of the two likely nominees, young voters simply won’t show up to vote on Election Day.

The response to the writing was considerable. Some readers told me they believe a pop star should not be involved in politics and others suggested that I was exaggerating the impact Swift would have if she were to endorse Biden.

With those reactions in mind, I did some research and found that Swift's fan base is increasing in the swing states, where Google searches for the pop star increased by 216 percent in the past year, including Michigan (228 percent). The two other states with the biggest increases were solidly Republican Florida (219 percent) and Iowa (273 percent).

This data reveals how Swift and her growing fanbase could influence the U.S. election, with 225 electoral votes up for grabs in the swing states. Narrowing things down, four of the five so-called tossup states saw higher than average searches for Swift, especially in Wisconsin (282 percent increase).

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

So how could this affect the election?

There has been speculation that the Democratic Party might use Swift to gain votes, but to date there is no indication that she is considering entering the fray. Even so, Donald Trump supporters have pledged a “holy war” against Swift, whose high-profile romance with Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce has brought her to the attention of the NFL fanbase.

In today's world of social media, megastardom has taken on a new yet not fully realized power. In her book Politics for the Love of Fandom,” author Ashley Hinck examines the phenomenon she terms "fan-based citizenship" in today's social media world.

She describes fan activism as "public engagement that emerges from a commitment to a fan-objector, in other words, a civic action that stems from participants' fandom experience and fan values, rather than from traditional religious or social institutions such as a church or political party.”

This powerful new fandom is something to be considered in the 2024 election. As Hinck writes, "To ignore fan-based citizenship would be to ignore a central part of contemporary public culture" and the realization that "online communities are increasingly serving as a source of community, public values, and ultimately, citizenship performances."

Before the 2020 election Swift lashed out at Trump for his late-night tweet threatening violence against protesters in Minnesota, saying the president had been “stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism [his] entire presidency.”

That tweet received nearly 2,000,000 likes.

Fast forward to Super Tuesday 2024. On March 5, we got a glimpse of the potential power of a Taylor Swift endorsement as she used an Instagram story to encourage her more than 282 million followers to vote.

“Today, March 5, is the Presidential primary in Tennessee and 16 other states and territories,” Swift, who has a home in Tennessee, wrote.

“I wanted to remind you guys to vote the people who most represent YOU into power. If you haven’t already, make a plan to vote today,” Swift continued. “Whether you’re in Tennessee or somewhere else in the US, check your polling places and times at”

Whether this is a precursor of more involvement in the coming months remains to be seen.

Read More

Candace Asher

Singer/songwriter Candace Asher

Presenting 'This Country Tis of Thee'

As we approach another presidential election, less than 120 days away, uncivil, dysfunctional behaviors continue to divide the nation. Each side blaming the other is never going to unite us.

As the rancor and divide between Americans increases, we need to stop focusing on our differences. The Fulcrum underscores the imperative that we find the common bonds of our humanity — those can, do and must bind us together.

There are many examples in the American Songbook that brought folks together in previous times of great strife and discord, including “Imagine,” “Heal the World,” “Love Can Build a Bridge,” “The Great Divide” and, of course, “We Are the World.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Donald Sutherland, Jane Fonda and others on stage

Donald Sutherland (left), Paul Mooney, and Jane Fonda performing in an anti-Vietnam War FTA (Free The Army) show in the Philippines in 1971.

Stuart Lutz/Gado/Getty Images

This young GI met Donald Sutherland in a bygone era. RIP to an original.

Page is an American journalist, syndicated columnist and senior member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board.

News of Donald Sutherland's death at age 88 took me back to a day in 1971 when he was protesting the Vietnam War onstage with Jane Fonda and I was one of about 1,000 off-duty soldiers in their audience.

I hoped, in the spirit of John Lennon's anthem, to give peace a chance.

Keep ReadingShow less
Taylor Swift singing on stage
John Shearer/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Taylor Swift: 'It's basically saying don't lose hope'

Daley-Harris is the author of “Reclaiming Our Democracy: Every Citizen’sGuide to Transformational Advocacy” and the founder of RESULTS and Civic Courage. This is part of a series focused on better understanding transformational advocacy: citizens awakening to their power.

In my last writing, I discussed how Taylor Swift’s first involvement in politics (during the 2018 midterm election in Tennessee) was prompted, in part, by her harrowing experience in a sexual assault trial. That year Swift endorsed Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s opponent in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race, Rep. Jim Cooper (D). It wasn’t an easy decision.

“I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions,” she wrote in an Instagram post, “but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Keep ReadingShow less
Young woman doing stand-up comedy

Laughter is the embodiment of depolarization.

FG Trade/Getty Images

What role does comedy play in pulling us together?

It’s no secret that pop culture in America has amazing healing and connecting powers. Throughout history, we’ve seen how artists, entertainers, athletes and creators of every kind invite us into a space of transcendence that leads to connectivity. We see that when we join people together their energy can be harnessed for good, and then amplified and scaled.

Certainly comedy fits in perfectly. Laughter is the embodiment of depolarization. Just consider that in order for something to evoke laughter, it has to have the capacity to both hold tension and release tension at the same time. And so we invite you to join Bridge Entertainment Labs tomorrow at 4 pm Eastern for “What’s Making Us Laugh? What Role Does Comedy Play in Pulling Us Together — or Driving Us Apart?”

Keep ReadingShow less