Your 191 million followers are listening.

By Sam Reed
Nov 03, 2020 @ 6:49 pm
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The Kardashians have a Taylor Swift-circa-2016 problem. All five of the sisters, who have a combination of hundreds of millions of followers, have failed to endorse a candidate for the 2020 election. 

Credit: Instagram / @kimkardashian

Just like Swift, who famously posted a photo of herself waiting in line to vote in Tennessee in 2016, but then failed to endorse a candidate one way or the other, the Kardashian sisters are giving us empty gestures (read: IG posts). Rather than using her latest Instagram as an opportunity to educate her followers, to encourage them to explore any platform, Kim’s “I voted” post is nothing more than a photo opp for her sheer red top, captioned, "I VOTED!!!! Did u???"

A sampling of the comments:

"Tell us who you voted for Kim."

"For who."

"Who did you vote for tho."

"FOR WHOM??"

When Swift broke her political silence in 2018, encouraging her fellow Tennesseans to vote for Senator Marsha Blackburn’s Democratic opponent, she was met with backlash, anger, and vicious name-calling. But her true fans were also grateful — grateful to know where she stands on issues like LGTQ+ rights, and climate change, and all the other partisan issues that affect them personally. Issues that shouldn’t be political in the first place. She didn’t have to speak out; she knew it was a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” celebrity-specific predicament. For her, though, it was the right thing to do. 

Kim may be in a unique situation in that her husband is currently running for president, but what about her life isn’t a unique situation? As a Spiderman-adjacent character once said: “With a great social media following, comes great responsibility to endorse a candidate in the most divisive election in modern history.” There's so much on the line this election, you would think that, given her acknowledgment of her own "privilege," she might have a little sympathy for those of us who are struggling to get by, plagued by either financial struggles or mental health issues or some combination of the two. Instead of supporting one candidate or the other, Kim is standing by the decision she made in April — just one month into the pandemic — to not endorse anyone at all. 

And, reminder, she already did it once …

Kourtney caught flak last month for sporting “Vote Kanye” merch in her Instagram stories, however, the family has been otherwise mum on the presidential race. (Reps for the family refused to comment as well.) Sure, Kylie Jenner’s “register to vote” post, featuring the 23-year-old in a bikini, generated a 1,500% surge in registrations. But that only proves their power and their reach. Imagine if they picked a side? 

Kim’s failure to address where she stands is particularly infuriating given her collaboration with the Trump administration on prison reform. She was routinely criticized for working with the White House — and Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, specifically — while also remaining ‘apolitical.’

Fine, Kim. We get it. You were moved to work on prison reform and leveraged your star power to get important people to listen to you. That's great! But why not leverage your star power after the fact, and use your platform to educate your followers? And by the way, you can have different political opinions and still work with “the other side.” (Just look at me and my conservative dad killing it at the margarita station every Christmas.) It just means you’re being transparent as a public figure doing public work. 

At the end of the day, there’s no way to know if a political endorsement from one or two (or five) celebrities is really going to change the outcome of the election. I’m sorry to bring this up (*trigger warning, 2016 content*), but celebrities weren’t, in fact, enough to sway the last presidential race in Hillary Clinton’s favor — no matter how hard Katy Perry tried. But Swift says it best in her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana: “I’m saying right now that [speaking up] is something that I know is right … I need to be on the right side of history.”