For years, Taylor Swift’s political silence has been a vacuum some on the right have gleefully filled with speculation that she was a conservative in hiding.
When the pop star stayed mum during the 2016 election, some interpreted her silence as a tacit endorsement of Donald Trump. While those on the left criticized her for not openly supporting the first woman nominee of a major party, white supremacists and others on the far right soon embraced her as their own. A Facebook group called “Taylor Swift for Fascist Europe” at one point had more than 18,000 likes, according to Vice. Extremists on 4chan shared memes with her face on them, as wild conspiracies flourished. Andrew Anglin, who edits the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, told Vice in 2016, “It is also an established fact that Taylor Swift is secretly a Nazi and is simply waiting for the time when Donald Trump makes it safe for her to come out and announce her Aryan agenda to the world.”
That all seemingly went away Sunday when Swift broke her political silence and came out in support of two Democrats in Tennessee, where she is registered to vote.
“I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent,” she said in an Instagram post. “I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love.”
While the post seemingly infuriated the far right, it came as an enormous relief to many of Swift’s fans. BuzzFeed News interviewed more than half a dozen Swift stans, or superfans, who were grateful the singer had put an end to the misinformation campaign propagated by the far right. These so-called Swifties said they’d endured criticism for continuing to support her and were thankful she’d revealed herself as the compassionate figure they’d always hoped she was.
“For me, I had been waiting for her to post something like that for a long time,” said Olivia Cherry, a 17-year-old in Illinois who tweets under the username @SwiftingDaily. “As someone who has looked up to her for the last 10 years, of course I knew what kind of person she was and what she believed in, but I couldn’t convince everyone else.”
Lizbeth, a 21-year-old who tweets under the username @iwishyouwoulds and asked to be identified only by her first name, declared Sunday a day of “independence” for the singer’s fandom. “Good morning Swifties,” she tweeted Monday morning with a GIF of Betty White dabbing. “Yesterday, the swiftland officially declared independence from the conservatives.”