Senators are involved in a bipartisan effort to go viral

Senators participating in the Senate Ticketmaster investigation took the opportunity to quote artists’ work in an effort to create soundbites of the day. Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal had their moment to shine, along with Republican Mike Lee.

You only get one shot, don’t miss your chance to blow.


“The ticketmaster should look in the mirror and say: ‘I’m the problem. It’s me,'” said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ms. Swift’s “anti-hero.” Another Democrat, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, noted in the 2012 album “Red” that consolidation in an industry was a problem the United States knew “all too well.”

It was a bipartisan effort. Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, has credited his daughter as his inspiration for covering Ms. Swift’s lyrics at least three times. Mr. Lee used Ms. Swift’s 2014 hit “Blank Space” to characterize ticket resale restrictions as “a daydream dressed up as a nightmare,” and Ms. Swift ended a set of comments with a question on her latest album, “Midnights” : “Karma is a relief. Think; aren’t you jealous that it’s not for you?”

The lyrics were a subtle play on the virality of politicians who are increasingly aware that being a meme can also help get a message across. In an otherwise dry congressional hearing, eye-catching displays like Rep. Katie Porter’s whiteboard can stand out. Another way to get attention is to weave in an unexpected pop culture reference, as when Senator Ted Cruz was mocked, but discussed, for reading Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor in 2013.