Taylor Swift has a reputation––no pun intended––for being notoriously apolitical, much to the chagrin of many fans and commentators over the years who have urged her to use her massive platform to effect positive change. She's now broken her silence, and it's to urge people to vote in the midterm elections, which are 28 days away.
"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," Swift wrote, adding that she "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," she continued. "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."
Swift announced that she would be voting for Democrats in her home state of Tennessee, slamming Republican Marsha Blackburn in the process.
"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."
Swift concluded that Blackburn's record has informed her decision to support Democrat Phil Bredesen for the Senate, and also for Representative Jim Cooper, a Democrat who's running for re-election. She also reminded her followers that tomorrow, October 9, is the last day to register to vote in the state of Tennessee and encouraged the others to go to vote.org to find more info pertaining to their state.
Bredesen soon thanked Swift for her support.
"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," he wrote.
Blackburn has not responded to requests for comment. A recent Fox News Poll found Blackburn was ahead of Bredesen 48 percent-43 percent; this is inside the poll's margin of error.
Swift has over 112,000,000 followers on Instagram alone, to say nothing of her other social media accounts––her endorsement is huge. She was quickly lauded for the move.
Others spoke to her critics directly:
Swift has long been quiet about her beliefs. In March, she wrote that she had donated to the March for Our Lives campaign and supports gun reform.
"I’m so moved by the Parkland High School students, faculty, by all families and friends of victims who have spoken out, trying to prevent this from happening again," Swift wrote at the time, referencing the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who commanded national attention for taking political leaders to task after another mass shooting.
Following last year's last year's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Swift was criticized for not immediately denouncing many of her neo-Nazi followers. The Daily Stormer, a website noteworthy for promoting white supremacy and espousing conspiracy theories, counted itself among Swift's biggest supporters.
The site was eventually ordered by web hosting company GoDaddy to move to another provider after the website published an article criticizing the appearance of Heather Heyer, a Charlottesville paralegal who was killed after she was struck by a Dodge Challenger driven by James Alex Fields, who had traveled to the city from Ohio to protest at the “Unite the Right” rally with fellow white nationalists.
Former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos wrote in 2016 that Swift is popular among the alt-right because she is "very white and very blonde" and that she "isn't very forthcoming about her political or religious views." He added: "Like the alt-right itself, the far-right internet's love affair with this pop star is predominantly sincere but with a heady whiff of satire and troublemaking."
In response to her endorsement of Bredesen, members of the alt-right on 4chan have branded her a traitor and have made calls for her to be "executed."