Back Onstage at the A.M.A.s, Taylor Swift Keeps Partisan Politics at Bay

Taylor Swift at the American Music Awards on October 9, 2018.
By Jeff Kravitz/AMA2018/FilmMagic.

When Taylor Swift broke her long political silence with a Sunday night Instagram post endorsing Democratic candidates in Tennessee, the timing wasn’t just about the looming midterm elections. Tuesday night’s American Music Awards opened with Swift’s first live TV performance since her appearances on S.N.L. and The Tonight Show late last year, and conspiracy theories flowed that Swift had planned the whole thing so that her performance of “I Did Something Bad” would be a direct rebuke to Trump, who had, inevitably, already responded to her endorsements.

Instead, the performance was a much more traditional Swift appearance: she arrived onstage alone in silhouette, creating that well-known mix of…

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