Taylor Swift, the country-turned-pop singer with legions of fans and millions of albums sold has typically stayed out of politics, until now. During the 2016 cycle, she did quietly support Hillary Clinton but she didn’t speak publicly about it or use her social media platforms to push political messages. On Sunday, however, that all changed when Swift broke down that wall with her fans and released a lashing statement criticizing Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn in Swift’s adopted state of Tennessee, where she is a resident. Under normal circumstances, celebrities endorsing their candidate barely makes news anymore, but in this case, Swift hasn’t been a celebrity that tosses around her political opinions ad nauseam which makes this a story worth covering, especially given the closeness of the Tennessee race.
Fox News reports on the Blackburn-bashing:
Taylor Swift — the pop star who notably has strayed from politics — broke that silence on Sunday, writing on Instagram that she’ll be voting for Tennessee Democrats in the midterm elections.
Swift, 28, slammed Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn in an Instagram post.
“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn,” Swift told her 112 million Instagram followers. “Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me.”
Swift said the congresswoman “voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry.”
“These are not MY Tennessee values,” the “Fearless” singer said online.
Swift concluded she’ll be voting for Democrat Phil Bredesen for the Senate, and also for Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democrat who’s running for re-election.
Bredesen quickly thanked Swift for her support on Twitter, writing he’s “honored” by support from her and “that of so many Tennesseans who are ready to put aside the partisan shouting and get things done.”
As we have chronicled previously, the Tennessee race is considered a “toss up” right now though recent polls have given Blackburn the advantage. Bredesen was quick to accept the endorsement and offer gratitude to the singer for giving him much-needed publicity in this tight race. A move like this might really matter since the polls have been so close despite Tennessee’s deep conservative roots.
A move like this doesn’t come without controversy, of course. The Tennessean reports on the fan backlash and offers some examples from critics on social media:
In the post, Swift said she has been has been “reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”
Some believe she should have stayed silent:
@taylorswift13 Respectfully, be quiet and sing! I guess you’re more pop than country now anyway. You’re country fans are gonna be disappointed. Now you’re on the level of Katie Perry.
— janice (@theemporersnew) October 8, 2018
@taylorswift13 Bad move. Politics just ruined your career. You picked the wrong side. We are never ever getting back together. Unfollowed.
— EnchantedApril (@EnchantdApril) October 8, 2018
Some observers are comparing Swift’s endorsement of Bredesen to Kanye West’s endorsement and continued support for President Trump:
As for the #TaylorSwift endorsing democrats drama, I used to be a Swiftie and may have even went to a tay tay concert but these days we are never ever ever getting back together #TeamKayne @KanyeWest #LookWhatYouMadeMeDo #MAGA#MAGA2018
— Johanna (@C0nservativeGal) October 8, 2018
Given this scenario, will Kanye wade into the Tennessee race and endorse Blackburn just to spite his arch-nemesis, Taylor? Yes, truly remarkable times in which we live as the war between Kanye an Taylor spills from the entertainment section to the political section. Never a dull moment in the politics of 2018.