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When Beyoncé posted photos of herself posing in a “Beto” hat three hours before the polls closed in Texas on Tuesday, her fans were overjoyed. However, when Beto O’Rouke conceded the Senate race to incumbent Ted Cruz hours later, detractors were quick to blame Beyoncé’s late endorsement for the loss.
Up until Election Day, Queen B, a Houston native, has stayed away from endorsing either O’Rourke or Cruz to represent Texas in the Senate. In the afternoon, she posted the photos with the accompanying message: “I’m feeling grateful for everyone before me who fought so hard to give us all the right to have a voice. We can’t voice our frustrations and complain about what’s wrong without voting and exercising out power to make it right.”
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I’m feeling grateful for everyone before me who fought so hard to give us all the right to have a voice. We can’t voice our frustrations and complain about what’s wrong without voting and exercising our power to make it right. We need you. We all need each other, because when we are truly united we are unstoppable. Sending you all love and positivity on this happy voting day! Every vote counts Every race matters Everywhere.
A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on
As with anything Beyoncé touches, the photos took off immediately online. #Beyonce4Beto started trending on Twitter, and O’Rourke himself retweeted one of the photos, thanking Beyoncé for her endorsement. The conversation swirled around the wonders of Bey, as fans urged anyone still unstickered to vote. Then, Beto lost and the conversation shifted.
Thank you, Beyoncé! pic.twitter.com/wfNJsGvrec— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 6, 2018
People started noticing how late she donned that cap, and the blame game began. Criticism of her timing poured in, as burned Democratic voters tried to find a reason for another six years of Cruz.
“I blame Beyonce for this,” one user tweeted. “Homegirl couldn’t tweet a day earlier???”
Someone should tell her that the time to stand and be counted was....well, any time before she did this. https://t.co/sGFuc6XL1R— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) November 6, 2018
It was perfectly timed. Republicans hate Beyoncé since the obama era. That would have turned them away.— NICE (@yoncemyname2) November 7, 2018
It wasn’t long before Beyoncé’s loyal fanbase caught wind of the rising criticism, and shut it down. “Blaming Beyoncé on Twitter but too afraid to confront your racist aunt at Thanksgiving smh that’s sad,” @jpbrammer wrote.
blaming Beyoncé on Twitter but too afraid to confront your racist aunt at Thanksgiving smh that's sad— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) November 7, 2018
More fans piled on, pointing out that placing the burden of gathering political momentum on celebrities doesn’t make much sense. The past several election cycles have seen a sharp rise in the number of vocal endorsements from popular celebs, but it is hard to say how much those endorsements have helped—or hurt—the people they campaigned for.
Beto did not lose because of Beyoncé. Log out and put your phone down. Thanks. Goodnight.— jon (@prasejeebus) November 7, 2018
The idea of irate Texas voters blaming Beyoncé for Cruz’s victory seemed particularly off considering that more than half of white women, and 71 percent of white men, voted for Cruz. If there is anyone to point fingers at, perhaps it should be them?
Who is organizing the white women? Because, sheesh. pic.twitter.com/JjERuPa7Qd— deray (@deray) November 7, 2018
it’s not Beyoncé’s fault Beto lost, we know who she voted for. if you wanna blame someone, blame white people who continue to vote for republicans bc they don’t care about the lives they’re putting at stake by voting for bigots. https://t.co/XsBzBPhbdZ— nañi (@pettyblackgirI) November 7, 2018
apparently 59% of white women in Texas voted for Ted Cruz and white people are on here talking about what Beyoncé should have done differently...just....talk to your relatives.— Ayesha A. Siddiqi (@AyeshaASiddiqi) November 7, 2018
95% of black women voted for Beto over Cruz. Now is not the time for white men to be blaming black women for Beto’s loss. Maybe let’s talk about how white men and women voted overWHELMINGly for Cruz? You’ve done awesome work, but this is not the move https://t.co/YOvsLptC5v— spencer claus (@spxncxrx) November 7, 2018
Beyoncé may not have aligned herself with Beto early, but she also didn’t have to do it at all. Fans around the country were given the opportunity to register to vote at every Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert during their OTR II tour.
H/T BuzzFeed News
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.