A pink sign in the forefront of a largely female crowd that reads in Spanish "Swiftie No Vota Milei"

In Argentina, ‘Swifties Don’t Vote For Milei’

Just days before the presidential elections in Argentina, Taylor Swift fans wanted to make sure their voices were heard. Pink posters with the caption: “Swifties Don’t Vote for Milei” were spotted all around the country’s biggest stadium, where the pop star recently performed three sold-out concerts. Javier Milei is a far-right libertarian candidate who has proposed radical changes if elected.

Just days before the presidential elections in Argentina, many Taylor Swift fans made their political views known.

Pink posters with the caption: “Swifties don’t vote for Milei” popped up all around the country’s biggest stadium, El Monumental, where the American singer performed three sold-out concerts recently. 

Javier Milei is a far-right populist with a real chance of being elected as the next president of Argentina in Sunday’s elections. Polls show him neck and neck with left-wing finance minister Sergio Massa.

Milei, a messy-haired libertarian economist, is proposing radical changes to his country’s economy, including eliminating Argentina’s Central Bank and officially adopting the US dollar as the national currency to combat triple-digit inflation.

Some of these proposals are appealing to young people, many of whom have experienced rising poverty and less employment opportunities in recent years.

Pink posters with the caption:
Pink posters with the caption: “Swifties Don’t Vote for Milei” were spotted all over Buenos Aires’ soccer stadium, El Monumental, where Taylor Swift performed three sold-out shows last week.Lautaro Grinspan/The World

But many Taylor Swift fans – mostly women in their 20s and 30s – don’t like Milei’s abrasive style and conservative views on social issues. They compare him to Donald Trump, whom Milei has said he admires.

Milei has made contentious statements, including that humans aren’t responsible for climate change and that the pay gap between men and women does not exist. He has voiced support for liberalizing gun ownership and the selling of human organs in an “organ market.”

Before the start of the shows, thousands of Taylor Swift’s fans waited under the burning sun for the stadium’s gates to open. Some had even been camping out for six months to get the best seats. 

Guadalupe Rodriguez, a Taylor Swift fan interviewed outside of the concert venue in Buenos Aires, said real Swifties not only connect with her music, but also with her values. 

Swift has mobilized her fans against the right in the US, endorsing Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential race, and frequently supporting women and LGBTQ rights through her music. 

Swift has not commented on Argentine politics, but some of her fans are convinced that, if she were Argentine, she would never vote for Milei.

“Being a Taylor Swift fan has actually taught us a lot of things,” Lucía Faría said. “As Swifties, or simply as women, it doesn’t make sense for us to vote for someone who is trying to take most of our rights away.”

A few weeks ago, a group of fans posted a statement on social media urging fellow Swifties to vote against Milei, and complained about some of his recent comments against feminism.

Milei said he would reverse the abortion decriminalization law that was recently passed in Argentina.

“That would be a huge loss of something we’ve been fighting for years,” said Rodriguez, who participated in massive marches in Buenos Aires in support of the abortion law ahead of its passing in 2020. 

A van is seen on the street with t-shirts of left-wing presidential candidate Sergio Massa.
Supporters of left-wing presidential candidate Sergio Massa took the opportunity to capitalize on the Swiftie’s sentiment against the rising far-right in Argentina.Lautaro Grinspan/The World

Voters between 18 and 29 years old represent a quarter of Argentina’s electorate.

 “For sure, the young vote is a battleground for both candidates in the second round of elections,” said Bruno Binetti, an Argentine political scientist with the Inter-American Dialogue.

Young voters aren’t a monolith, Binetti said, and Milei’s proposals remain appealing to a lot of them.

“They see the collapse of a state-based economic model with rising poverty, with rising inflation, less opportunities for job and social progress, so it makes sense that they would look for somebody that promises to unleash the market forces and retrench the state.”

Even some fans of Taylor Swift see Milei as a good option. 

Romina Giaccio said she felt like a “black sheep” when she attended the concert. She didn’t like seeing all the anti-Milei posters because, according to her, Swift’s views on US politics are not relevant in Argentina. 

“Both countries have very different problems,” she added. “You can’t generalize.”

In a long waiting line outside stadium El Monumental, supporters of Sergio Massa capitalized on the opportunity to hand out flyers to legions of exuberant Swifties. Other posters in that area showed Photoshopped images of Sergio Massa on Taylor Swift album covers. 

Next Sunday, Argentines will know if those were the efforts of a successful campaign or if the outsider Milei was able to shake it off.

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