On Sunday night, country-pop superstar Taylor Swift broke her rule about staying out of politics with an Instagram post denouncing the Republican nominee for Senate in Swift’s home state of Tennessee. “As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn.”
Blackburn, whose voting record in congress Swift said “appalls and terrifies” her, is in a tight race with Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen to succeed retiring Sen. Bob Corker.
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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! 🗳😃🌈
“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,” the singer wrote.
Though the Grammy winner has occasionally voiced support for progressive issues, Swift’s reluctance to speak out on political issues more often has been subject to criticism in the past. The star’s popularity within the alt-right—and her initial failure to explicitly denounce them—was perceived by many on the left as a tacit endorsement of Donald Trump. But with Sunday’s explicitly partisan post, she’s come under fire from the right.
Hey @taylorswift13 –
You just endorsed a Democrat in the Tennessee senate race with a ridiculous statement saying Marsha Blackburn, a woman, is against women
You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about
Your career has never recovered since Kanye ended it
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) October 8, 2018
Hey @taylorswift13 before you endorse a candidate maybe you should learn something about the candidates
You have no idea what you are talking about
Marsha is a strong woman who will be the next US Senator from Tennessee. https://t.co/J27pRRJvJa
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) October 8, 2018
Like Willie Nelson’s conservative fans before them, Taylor’s right-leaning listeners are heartbroken.
And u getting political appalls me!!Stick to singing..Taylor Swift bashes Blackburn in favor of Tennessee Dems, breaking political silencehttps://t.co/4azjgzSzwF
— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) October 8, 2018
Kanye was right to interrupt Taylor Swift
— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) October 8, 2018
Swift’s rebuke of Blackburn comes only three years after the congresswoman held a fundraiser at one of the pop star’s concerts in DC. (Politicians from both parties held fundraisers at the event.) At the time, Blackburn, a vocal supporter of the music industry, was co-sponsoring legislation requiring radio stations to compensate record labels and artists when airing their songs. More recently, she threw her support behind the Music Modernization Act, which “simplifies how streaming services pay songwriters, changes how the law deals with music recorded before 1972, and helps producers collect more royalties,” according to theVerge. It passed unanimously through the Senate last week.
Bredesen, Blackburn’s Democratic opponent, has less of a record with legislation affecting the music industry, but he has widespread support from Nashville’s musical community—country music legend Dolly Parton is a longtime friend of the former Tennessee governor, and singer-songwriters Jason Isbell and Ben Folds performed at a rally for Bredesen in August.
Bredesen tweeted his appreciation for Swift’s public show of 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
Donald Trump supporter Kanye West has yet to tweet about it, but people are on high alert.