Taylor Swift has allowed her activism anthem, "Only the Young", to be used in a political advert. Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted a new video for the Biden/Harris 2020 campaign featuring the track that she released earlier this year as part of her Miss Americana Netflix documentary.
"Up there's the finish line. Our future is worth our fight. Thank you, @taylorswift13, for voicing what #OnlyTheYoung can do. Let’s run!" Swalwell wrote alongside the ad, invoking lyrics from the song. CNN reporter Oliver Darcy tweeted, "Swalwell tells me he cold pitched @taylorswift13 on this spot, and she green lit it — it's the first political ad she's granted permission for her music to be used in."
The ad begins with voiceover of vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris saying, "Why are so many powerful people trying to make it so difficult for us to vote?" Then Swift's song begins with the lyrics "It keeps me awake / The look on your face/ The moment you heard the news." Images of people getting emotional on election night, participating in women's marches, and protesting the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh follow.
As Swift sings about the "big, bad man with his big, bad plans," footage of a COVID-19 positive President Trump taking off his mask at the White House is shown. Then Senate Mitch McConnell, Senate Lindsey Graham, and U.S. Attorney General William Barr are seen right afterwards. There's also video of immigrant children at the border, separated from their families, before Melania Trump's "I Don't Really Care, Do U?" jacket is shown.
When the song says, "They aren't gonna help us, too busy helping themselves," the recent confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett is shown, followed by protests against police brutality and rampant wildfires along the West Coast. But, as the song indicates, young people are offered as the solution. Several adolescents are shown with "I Voted" stickers, as well as at Biden/Harris marches. There's even a shot of Swift's friend Selena Gomez dancing in a shirt with "VOTE" written on it.
Voiceover from the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg ends the video, as she says, "Think about how you would like the world to be for your daughters and grandaughters." Several hashtags are used to conclude the message, including #ClimateChangeIsReal, #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, #ICantBreathe, #NovemberIsComing, #EndGunViolence, #Juneteenth, #WearAMask, #BlueWave2020, and finally #Vote.
Senate Kamala Harris was one of many high-profile people to praise Swift's allowance of the song to be used in the Biden/Harris 2020 ad.
In Miss Americana, Swift spoke about writing the song to inspire young voters who may have been disappointed by the losses of candidates like Beto O'Rourke and Stacey Abrams in 2018. "We have three to four million people turning 18 in the next two years — resist," she said of the track. "If you can shift the power by being bold enough, it won't be like this forever." Earlier this month, Swift formally endorsed Biden/Harris in the 2020 presidential election.
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