On Sunday, October 7, Taylor Swift broke her silence regarding her political stance for the first time in the history of her professional career. In an Instagram post, she stated the values, that she believes in, the reasons why she cannot vote for Marsha Blackburn, and whom she will instead be voting for in the upcoming midterm elections. Though it may not seem out of the ordinary for a celebrity to voice their political opinions to the media and their online followers, for Swift, it was unexpected and aberrant in light of her previous choice to keep those matters private.
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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!
Though Swift has been relatively quiet about various political and social issues up until now, it is commendable to see her opening up to the public a bit more regarding these matters. Since the sexual assault trial that she won in August of 2017, in which she accused disc jockey David Mueller of groping her inappropriately and against her will, she has continued to speak up in favor of feminism and women’s rights, and it is easy to see that she is using her level of fame for good.
Continuing in this pattern of using her fame for good, Swift’s post regarding voting could not have come at a better time. Voter registration in many states is ending soon, if it has not already ended, and the midterm elections have the potential to turn Congress from a Republican majority to a Democratic majority. In a time of such a potential change, Swift recognized that it is important to find those politicians whose values most closely resemble one’s own, and to vote accordingly. With this idea in mind, she urged her followers to thoroughly educate themselves about the candidates up for election within their states and make their choice after doing so, stating that “we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway.”
Swift also targeted a specific demographic of people within her post, “Intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people [that] have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count.” As much of her fanbase is comprised of people that fall into this age bracket, Swift encouraged them to register to vote and to learn more about the voting process by visiting Vote.org.
By using her massive following on such a popular social media platform, Swift was able to reach out to her 112 million Instagram users, effectively spreading her message and even causing an uptick in site traffic and voter registration on Vote.org. Kamari Guthrie, who serves as the Director of Communications for Vote.org, told Buzzfeed News that the number of unique site visitors had reached 155,940 within 24 hours of Swift’s post, a number that is second to only the amount that visited the site on National Voter Registration Day. He also stated that they “are up 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post.” Though it is common for the number of registrations to rise as elections get closer, it is clear that Swift’s post spiked the numbers greatly.
So, in the words of Taylor Swift, “Happy Voting!”