Jerry Kremer

America has finally found that fresh face


Once upon a time, when you did a survey of the most respected people in America, names like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey or Bill Clinton would dominate the list. Being on the most respected list was a guarantee that you could make a speech, or just send out a tweet, and it would get immediate attention from the public and maybe even move the stock market.
Over the past year or so, things have changed. There’s no doubt that Winfrey and Obama will still make the list, but if you’re looking for power, prestige and an economic force, your choice has to be Taylor Swift.
Winfrey can launch a new venture, and over a period of weeks or months, she will gain the attention of people who follow her career. But nobody can match the impact that Swift’s name and image currently generates. One example, of many, was the Oct. 1 Jets-Chiefs game at MetLife Stadium, which drew 25 million viewers, largely because Swift was seated in a luxury box.
If you watched the game, you couldn’t help but noticed that the television cameras were devoting almost as much time to Swift as they were to the Jets and Chiefs. Swift didn’t sing or dance. She didn’t walk out on the field for a cameo appearance. All she did was sit — and jump up and down and cheer — with a bunch of friends and relatives of her latest love interest, Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce.
In addition to the huge TV audience, the stadium had its largest crowd in recent memory. That Swift is a money generator is no surprise. Her concerts fill every venue to capacity, and generate millions in revenues for hotels, restaurants and all types of local businesses.

As a sign of the type of revenue she can generate with one concert, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sent her a number of fan letters, urging her to schedule concerts in Canada as a way of boosting his country’s economy. Some federal monetary officials have speculated that the revenues generated by her concerts are having an impact on inflation statistics.
In recent weeks, a new documentary has been released that follows Swift around the world and gives the general public some idea of the dramatic impact that she has wherever she goes. According to entertainment writers, a number of fans were willing to pay astronomical sums just to get a sneak preview of the travelogue.
Can Swift become a political force? No one knows for sure, but recently she sent out a tweet urging people to register to vote. According to election officials, her brief outreach generated 50,000 new registrants in one day. No one knows what her political leanings are, but there is no doubt that she could get millions of people to the polls if she chose to promote a candidate.
For those of us who don’t follow the music industry, the success of this 33-year-old phenomenon is a little mystifying. She has a sweet voice, writes many of her own songs and has a powerful stage presence. I thought that she appealed to a particular age group but recently a friend, who is 65, excitedly told us about attending a Taylor Swift concert.
Her success is attributable to her talent, her personality and her exiting performances. It also is a sign that with all of the political turmoil in our country, the public is desperately seeking fresh faces that have nothing to do with politics. We are very much in need of pleasant distractions and Taylor Swift clearly gives us that, and more.

Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column?