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Taylor Swift endorsed the Democratic candidates for Tennessee’s federal elections while urging her followers to register to vote in a post to Instagram Sunday night.
Swift, who has mostly stayed out of the political fray since the 2016 election as other celebrities used their platforms to elevate political platforms or become activists, opened up about some of her own evolving views.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
View this post on Instagram
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! 🗳😃🌈
A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on
Swift also spoke out against her current senator, Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and while she said that she supports having more women in Congress, Blackburn’s record “appalls and terrifies me.” She threw her weight behind Blackburn’s opponent, Phil Bredesen, urged her followers to make sure they’re registered to vote before their state’s registration deadline.
In her post, Swift referenced her own experiences over the past two years, which included winning a lawsuit against a former DJ whom Swift said groped her. Swift’s counter-lawsuit was for $1, a symbolic gesture. She became one of the women who appeared on Time magazine for the 2017 Person of the Year issue as one of the “Silence Breakers.”
But while she may have been trying to stay apolitical by not saying anything, many have interpreted that as her own political statement or sign of complicity. She never revealed who she voted for, but some believe that she cast her vote for President Donald Trump while others tried to interpret her clothing choices on Election Day 2016 to indicate that she voted for Hillary Clinton. She’s been criticized for not speaking out against the white supremacists who’ve elevated her (even though she has before), going as far to sue a blogger who wrote about Swift’s far-right fans. Her attempts to stay apolitical since 2016 and focusing on the music has received an increasing amount of pushback.
Bredesen thanked Swift for her endorsement on Twitter.
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
And while Swift’s post might be considered too little, too late by some, others are glad (and even shocked) that she’s finally speaking out. Swift has one of the most popular accounts on multiple social media platforms, and her voice, no matter what she says, can reach a wider (and in some cases) much younger audience.
So… Kanye is MAGA and Taylor Swift is endorsing Democrats in TN. This screening of Interstellar 2 is fascinating. Buy a lottery ticket. Anything is possible in this timeline.
— roxane gay (@rgay) October 8, 2018
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.