Swalwell tweeted the ad Friday with the message, “Thank you @taylorswift13, for voicing what #OnlyTheYoung can do. Let’s run!”
The ad, which will be distributed over social media in the final days of the 2020 campaign, marks the first time that Swift has licensed a song to a campaign, the Swalwell campaign said.
The ad features images from marches and protests over the past four years, calling attention to the Covid-19 pandemic, racial injustice, the climate crisis, and immigration. It also includes audio and video footage of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris.
Swalwell, who is running for re-election in California, says he first heard Swift’s “Only the Young” song in January when Swift released her Miss Americana Documentary on Netflix.
To Swalwell, the song is, “an anthem for 2020 and a call to action for the youth vote,” he told CNN.
According to the California Democrat, his campaign sent Taylor Swift a “cold pitch,” last Friday asking for permission to use Swift’s “Only The Young” song in its new ad.
While Swalwell did not speak to Swift personally, the Swalwell campaign was granted permission to use her song.
“They responded quickly and worked with us to get what’s called a gratis license,” Sawalwell said, which means that Swift allowed the Swalwell campaign to use the song free of charge.
Swalwell said he believes youth voter turnout could be “consequential” in the 2020 election, noting that “our health in this pandemic, our future as far as this economy that’s been brought to its knees, and healing the country over racial injustice,” are at stake.
Those issues are resonating with young people, Swalwell told CNN.
He said he hopes having the song in the ad, which includes the lyrics, “Only the young can run,” will motivate young voters to get out to the polls this weekend and on Election Day.
“They’ve marched for years on these issues,” Swalwell told CNN. “The song calls on people to run, and essentially run to the polls.”