After years of political silence, pop culture icon Taylor Swift is now endorsing an old white dude for the Senate … because feminism. Not what you expected? You’re not alone.
The 28-year-old’s decision to enter the political arena is surprising given her deliberate inactions to avoid it altogether, particularly since President Donald Trump’s election. While she famously posted a picture of herself in 2016 in line at the voting booth, Swift gave no inclination of partisan bias. Swift wasn’t #Imwithher for Hillary Clinton, at least not publicly. She merely encouraged followers to cast their vote.
She threw any semblance of impartiality out the window on Sunday night. Swift posted a photo to her 112 million Instagram followers, along with a lengthy caption proclaiming she plans to vote for Democrat candidates for the House and Senate in Tennessee on Nov. 6, and specifically denouncing Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
“Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Swift wrote. “She 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. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives.”
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve 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. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She 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. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
The Bredesen campaign of course jumped on Swift’s comments, and proudly touted the candidate as “resonating with Democrats, Independents and Republicans throughout the state.” Bredesen tweeted he is “honored” to have her support.
Thank you for the kind words @taylorswift13. I’m honored to have your support and that of so many Tennesseans who are ready to put aside the partisan shouting and get things done. We’re ready for it. Last day to register to vote is October 9. https://t.co/6Xd6YyaJCG pic.twitter.com/CatUBkXPKe
— Phil Bredesen (@PhilBredesen) October 8, 2018
Problem is, he’s not resonating, exactly. A CBS News/YouGov poll shows that Blackburn, currently a House representative, has an 8-percentage point lead over the former governor.
One has to wonder, given the timing of Swift’s announcement following the hotly contested Kavanaugh confirmation, if she even took time to research Bredesen’s position. Before the confirmation vote of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Bredesen released a statement that he would have voted “yes” to Kavanaugh—even after Christine Blasey Ford testified.
Furthermore, while governor of Tennessee, Bredesen was investigated by the Tennessean for hiding details of sexual harassment allegations against top officials on his staff. In 2005, Mack Cooper, Bredesen’s senior adviser for legislation and policy, was suspended for workplace harassment and the details never revealed. Shortly after, another high-ranking staff member resigned due to mounting scrutiny over a sexual harassment allegation. Bredesen was accused of directing his staff to shred harassment claims when they were against top level staff. He denied the shredding was not a cover up, but an effort to protect the identities of the victims, and later instructed his staff to stop the shredding.
Good luck justifying that to angry feminists across the country, Swift.
A vote for Blackburn, on the other hand, could help her become the first female ever to hold one of Tennessee’s two U.S. Senate seats. Pretty groundbreaking for the type of female advancement Swift seems so focused on propagating.
Whether Swift’s endorsement drives screaming girls to the polls remains to be seen. She has a right to take a stance and speak her mind, but it’s also completely unnecessary and could alienate many of her fans. But, since she’s no longer only a country music singer beholden to fans in Middle America, Swift apparently feels emboldened to politicize herself in a way that could very well turn off people who helped build her career.
This new “woke” Swift is likely a product of incessant bullying from liberals who have condemned her for refusing to explicitly distance herself from the alt right. And that’s disappointing, because Swift’s meteoric career never needed political firebrand to attract more followers. According to Billboard, Swift’s last album, “Reputation,” surpassed well more than 2 million sales, her sixth album to do so. In its first week alone, the album sold more than 1.2 million copies. Since then, Swift embarked on a 50-city world tour and has only reaped further commercial success.
So Swift, save the brilliant writing for songs—songs that unite all sorts of fans from different political backgrounds. Learn from Kathy Griffin who got axed from CNN and ostracized from mainstream comedy gigs, or Alyssa Milano who spends more time in Capitol Hill courtrooms than television sets. Alienating half your audience only hurts your mega-stardom career.
Hate to say it, Swift, but look what you made us do. Take this as a lesson that the microphone suits you much better than partisan politics ever will.