Taylor Swift recently released Folklore, her eighth studio album. In honour of this, we thought we’d compare every Taylor Swift album to a Republican politician.
The below results were calculated with the help of key Republican think tanks and are completely scientific and factual in every way.*
*that’s not true
Folklore – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Folklore is being praised for its maturity and particularly relaxed style. So, when looking at all the Republican politicians on the list, Dwight is the natural choice. He was a moderate who continued economic programmes from the New Deal, including expanding social security. He, like Folklore, had an inner strength to him that while not forged through the media circus that Taylor Swift has had to endure, came from something nearly as tough: the army. The GOP under Eisenhower promoted a party which was “proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs” – like Taylor, I imagine Eisenhower would be disgusted with the modern GOP.
Lover – Mitt Romney
Like, Lover, Mitt Romney had his moments. Taylor’s previous album, Reputation, was snubbed at the Grammys and this was her chance to rebound from this – much in the same way the Republicans were hoping to rebound from 2008’s defeat of John McCain by Barack Obama. Romney ultimately lost the election and will be a paragraph in the history of the Republican party, rather than a full-blown chapter. Lover, while successful, didn’t enjoy massive critical success and was more of a placeholder for bigger things that were still to come (though while Taylor Swift went on to make Folklore¸ Republicans went on to choose Trump, so once again Taylor Swift beats the Republicans.)
Lover was also mocked for some cringey lyrical choices, such as “you can’t spell awesome without me” and “spelling is fun!” This ties in nicely with Romney’s “Binders full of women”. Also, in this analogy, this sort of makes Brendon Urie, Paul Ryan; which is quite something.
Reputation – Richard Nixon
Loved by many of her fans, despite receiving a mixed reception from critics, Reputation is something of a drop-off from 1989 – at least in terms of sales and awards. While still very successful, it didn’t hit the heights that I’m sure Taylor Swift expected. Her public image also took a hit during this time, and she appeared generally less at ease in her own skin. Reputation is about Taylor fighting to find her place in the world and battling against how she is portrayed in the media.
Richard Nixon should have won the 1960 election. Richard Nixon did win the 1968 and 1972 elections. He was a successful politician. And yet, this is not the thing you think of when you think of Richard Nixon. Instead, it’s the scandals and the cartoonish villain way he is portrayed in the media that springs to mind when we remember him. Nixon has a reputation issue. Perhaps if Nixon was more of a “girl boss”, he wouldn’t have been impeached and removed from office.
1989 – Ronald Reagan
The big one, the one that made her a truly global star, 1989 had massive hit singles like “Blank Space” and “Shake it Off”, which became staples of modern pop culture. And when it comes to big successes, they don’t get much bigger than Ronald Reagan – the man who dominated politics in the 1980s and who won massive landslide victories. Reagan ushered in the new Republican party and changed America forever, and 1989 did similar things for Taylor Swift. With this album she embraced being the biggest pop star in the world, just like Reagan embraced destroying America through unchecked capitalism.
Red – Abraham Lincoln
Loved by her fans, Red is considered by those in the Taylor Swift fandom as a true highpoint of her career. Republican high points don’t get much higher than Abraham Lincoln – mainly because he’s a Republican in name only and is about as far removed as possible from the Republican party of today. And that’s the key to this comparison: identity.
Red was the last album by Taylor Swift that still contained her country music identity before her switch to full blown pop artist with 1989. While the Republican party didn’t shift its ideology until the 20th century, Lincoln is still the poster child for that change because he is the clearest example of what the party’s identity once was.
Speak Now/Fearless – Larry Hogan/Charlie Baker
These two albums were trickier to compare. They’re well liked by fans, sold well, got good reviews, and didn’t really piss anyone off. So, I’ve gone for two lower profile Republican governors that have high approval ratings
Now, don’t get me wrong, Larry Hogan is no saint and there are plenty of things on his record to pick at, but during a time where the Republican party is turning American into a more savage version of Mad Max: Fury Road, Hogan has at least tried to be considerate with some of his political choices, including making birth control cheaper. Hogan is a bit of a mixed bag, but considering the NRA declined to endorse him in 2018, that at least shows he’s fairly good by Republican standards.
Charlie Baker is perhaps even more popular in Massachusetts, where he serves as Governor. As of March 2020, he had an 80% approval rating. That’s a ridiculously high number. A moderate Republican who just embodies the phrase “moderate Republican”, he is successful without national scandal. In the years after these two albums came out, Taylor Swift became a global superstar and had to endure much abuse in the press and from the public. But during these two albums, she probably had an 80% approval rating, too.
Taylor Swift – George W. Bush
Taylor’s self-titled debut album is much closer to pure country music than anything else she has ever done. George W. Bush embraced the southern image and being a “guy you can get a drink with while he wears a cowboy hat” more so than any other major politician. While her debut album isn’t her strongest, at least she didn’t invade Iraq, so the lows of this album are nothing compared to the lows of Bush’s presidency.
As Taylor Swift has grown older, she has distanced herself from her now former record label Big Red Machine. In that way, George W. Bush is now similarly free from his previous master, Dick Cheney.