photo: Instagram

Following the election of a tangerine man-boy into our nation's highest office, liberal America has undergone a flood of emotions — mainly rage, despair, and the need for someone to blame. And for a surprisingly large number of Twitter users, Taylor Swift has become that scapegoat. 

It's easy to point fingers at her, sure. As someone who's supposedly taken up the feminist mantle and exerts major influence over her fans and approximately 156,147,880 social media followers, many find it inexcusable that Swift refrained from weighing in on such a high-stakes election until Tuesday (November 8). And even then, the post she shared on Instagram simply encouraged people to vote, with no mention of a specific candidate endorsement.

For a lot of people of the interwebs, that kind of neutrality and, seemingly, apathy just ain't gonna cut it.

On Monday (November 7), a writer for Vanity Fair urged people not to overlook Swift's failure to take a public stance.

And indie band Best Coast contended the singer's silence was "bizarre."

Soon, a full-on witch hunt was underway.

Everyone wanted to know who Swift was voting for.

And some interpreted her silence as proof she's a Trump supporter.

Once the results came in Wednesday (November 9), many were quick to blame Swift for Trump's victory.

With some outright claiming she could've changed the outcome.

A lonely few Tweeters voiced their support of Swift's neutrality.

But the majority decidedly condemned her.

Swift has spoken before about her reason for not weighing in on politics.

During the 2012 election, Swift addressed her lack of a political voice to Time, saying, “I follow (the election), and I try to keep myself as educated and informed as possible. But I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people. And I don’t think that I know enough in life to be telling people who to vote for.”

And in a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, the story's writer noticed Swift's discomfort with politics, saying, "She’s constantly worried about saying something that could be construed as offensive to her fans, and even swats away a question about her political preferences before conceding that she supports the president."

The question is, is she justified? And just how much of a responsibility do celebrities actually have to their voting public?

While Swift is attracting her share of criticism for being apolitical, we can't forget that Hollywood types receive just as much flak for being political, too. When it comes to celebrities and politics, it seems to be a damned if they do, damned if they don't situation. And to act like people are a source of political wisdom and guidance simply because they have a nice singing voice or aesthetically pleasing facial features is pretty absurd. There's no guarantee their views are any more informed than the next person's, and to pedestalize their opinions solely because of their Hollywood status is, by and large, dumb.

Technically, Swift did her duty just by voting, and no one in this country is obligated to share their presidential candidate of choice. That should be enough then, right?

In this super-specific case, I'm going to say — wrong.

Surely Swift's lack of a political message wasn't directly responsible for Trump's victory; those claims are pretty ridiculous. But there was simply too much at stake in this election for anyone of Swift's reach to remain silent, especially considering there are subtle clues she was, indeed, a Hillary supporter. So why didn't she just come out say it? 

As it (super depressingly) turned out, a shockingly large number of white, middle-class, educated women — arguably Swift's main fan demographic — voted for Trump. It's not like Swift's participation would've altered the course of this whole election, but inarguably, every little bit of public support counted. And the fact she's refrained from commenting on politics before now would likely have lent her words that much more weight — a weight that pro-Hillary messages clearly needed, and didn't receive enough of.

As one Twitter user put it best, it seems a whole lot like Swift was content to claim feminism when it was convenient for her. But when it came down to the moment our nation needed feminism the most, all she contributed was a blank space.