ENDORSEMENTS IN Tennessee election campaigns don't usually draw international headlines. But when Taylor Swift on Oct. 7 told her 112 million Instagram followers that she intends to vote next month for two Democrats — US Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and Representative Jim Cooper — news outlets the world over rushed to report the news.
It has never been clear to me why anyone would care about the political loyalties of a pop singer (or an athlete or supermodel), and until recently it wasn't clear to Swift, either. Though she has made a career out of oversharing the details of her personal life, she always drew the line at politics. When Rolling Stone asked her just after the 2008 election whether she was a Republican or a Democrat, she declined to say. "I just try and stick to my specialty and my specialty is music," Swift said. "I voted yesterday, but I don't think it's my job to try and influence people which way they should vote, because it's a very personal thing."
She was equally reticent four years later as she was promoting her fourth album, Red. "I just figure I'm a 22-year-old singer," she told Swedish TV, "and I don't know if people really want to hear about my political views. I think they just want to hear me sing songs about breakups and feelings."
By 2016, Swift's public neutrality on politics was infuriating liberals. . . .