​Taylor Swift on Staying Silent in the 2016 Election: "Would I Be an Endorsement or Would I Be a Liability?"

​Taylor Swift on Staying Silent in the 2016 Election: "Would I Be an Endorsement or Would I Be a Liability?"
Photo: Rick Clifford
Taylor Swift may be all rainbows and butterflies these days, but back in 2016 she came under fire (amongst other things) for not vocally supporting a candidate in the U.S. election. Now she's defending her position to remain silent — even though she definitely voted for Hillary Clinton.
 
The election took place just months after #TaylorSwiftIsASnake-gate, after which Swift says she was only listening to the millions of people who had told her to disappear.
 
"A mass public shaming, with millions of people saying you are quote-unquote canceled, is a very isolating experience," she told Vogue for the cover of the September Issue. "I don't think there are that many people who can actually understand what it's like to have millions of people hate you very loudly."
 
So she refrained from social media for months, and as Vogue writer Abby Aguirre puts it, "a portion of the media and internet began demanding to know why she hadn't un-canceled herself long enough to take a position in the presidential election."
 
Swift, ever aware of her public perception, argued:
 
Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement. He was going around saying, "I'm a man of the people. I'm for you. I care about you." I just knew I wasn't going to help. Also, you know, the summer before that election, all people were saying was "She's calculated. She's manipulative. She's not what she seems. She's a snake. She's a liar." These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary. Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability? "Look, snakes of a feather flock together. Look, the two lying women. The two nasty women." Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear. So I disappeared. In many senses.
 
Though she may retroactively be voicing support for Clinton, it wasn't until the 2018 mid-terms that Swift finally took a political stance, and encouraged her followers to support Democratic candidates. She has since become an advocate for the Equality Act, and made her LGBTQ ally-ship known in loud, vibrant colours with "You Need to Calm Down" — for which the accompanying video was released on Donald Trump's birthday.
 
Elsewhere in the Vogue cover story, Swift discusses sexism in the music industry, emerging from the reputation era and, of course, her new album Lover. It's due out August 23 via Republic.
 
Read the full Vogue cover story here.