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Taylor Swift Inspired Voter Registration Surge
On Sunday, after a long career of political silence, Taylor Swift endorsed two Democratic candidates in Tennessee, where she’s registered to vote. Along with throwing her support behind Phil Bredesen, who’s running for Senate, and Jim Cooper, who’s vying for a House seat, she cited her alignment with the Democrats on a number of social issues, writing on Instagram:
“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.”
She also took aim at Marsha Blackburn, the Republican running for Tennessee’s Senate seat (the person currently in possession of that seat, Republican Bob Corker, is resigning).
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.
Leading up to and throughout the 2016 presidential election, Swift remained famously silent about politics. In fact, to many Republicans, Swift’s silence equaled a support of Donald Trump. Among the darkness of the Internet, the Alt-Right had deemed Swift the aryan goddess, and bizarrely enough, the superstar never once denounced her neo-Nazi admirers.
So, it came as somewhat of a surprise and, indeed, a relief when Swift dismissed those claims by espousing these progressive values and endorsing Democratic candidates. Certainly, the Democrats would have welcomed her support during the 2016 election—and long before—but it’s better late than never.
And, hilariously enough, the conservatives who championed Swift in recent years quickly turned on her. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee turned Internet comedian tweeted that her endorsement meant nothing “unless we allow 13 yr old girls to vote.”
Even Donald Trump chimed in, saying he likes her music “about 25 percent less now.” He also claimed Swift “doesn’t know anything about Blackburn,” for whom Trump has held a rally. On 4chan, Swift’s neo-Nazi fans were furious with her statement, even claiming that she was paid to write it or did it for the PR.
But Swift is showing that her involvement is making an impact already. According to Vote.org, the superstar’s Instagram post caused a massive spike in voter registration.
“We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” Kamari Guthrie, Vote.org’s director of communications, told BuzzFeed News.
With the midterm election less than a month away, Swift is proving wrong people like Huckabee and his asinine assertion about her fans. This should also illustrate why it was so frustrating for Swift to not have said anything earlier. It seems highly unlikely that a Swift endorsement of Hillary Clinton would’ve swayed the election in her favor, but certainly it would have mobilized voters, especially those in the Red States where she’s most popular.
Soon, we’ll see if she has any influence over the race in Tennessee.