Monday, March 25, 2019

Taylor Swift, apolitical no more, endorses democratic candidates in Tennessee

  • Sarah Mervosh, The New York Times
    Published: 2018-10-08 11:57:11 BdST


Taylor Swift, the pop music titan who has been notably apolitical in turbulent political times, broke her silence Sunday and endorsed two Democratic candidates running for election in Tennessee.

In a post on Instagram, Swift said she planned to vote for Phil Bredesen, who is competing in a tight Senate race against a Republican candidate backed by President Donald Trump, and Rep. Jim Cooper, an incumbent who represents the Nashville area.

“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,” Swift wrote, adding that “I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin colour, gender or who they love.”

Swift’s political views had previously been left up to interpretation, and at times her silence was viewed as support for Trump as well as the alt-right movement. The singer is beloved by some white supremacists, who claim her as an Aryan goddess, and in 2017, her lawyers fought back against a blog post that portrayed her as a white supremacist figurehead.

While it is unclear whom she voted for in the last presidential election — she left fans to speculate based on a sweater she appeared to wear to the polls — Swift has finally made plain her political values, if not her voting record or party allegiance. She pledged support for LGBTQ rights and racial and gender equality.

It is unclear why Swift, a country turned pop star who is known for controlling her image, decided to speak up now. Her announcement came after the scheduled end of her “Reputation” stadium tour in the United States and before the deadline to register to vote in Tennessee.

She wrote that she had previously been “reluctant” to publicly voice her political opinions. “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.

She then slammed Bredesen’s Republican opponent, Rep Marsha Blackburn, for her views on issues such as same-sex marriage and equal pay for women. “Her voting record in Congress appals and terrifies me,” Swift said.

But like the public relations master she is, Swift left some room for speculation — and forgiveness. “For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100 percent on every issue, but we have to vote anyway,” she wrote.

Her post sparked widespread discussion on social media, with the reaction largely falling along partisan lines. Conservatives dismissed her as a political know-nothing, and liberals celebrated, though some took issue with her endorsement of Bredesen, who had said he would have supported Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious nomination to the Supreme Court.

But as with many things Swift does, it simply got people talking — and referring to Kanye West.

Bredesen tweeted a screenshot of Swift’s post and thanked her for her “kind words.”

“I’m honoured to have your support,” he said.


© 2018 New York Times News Service