Taylor Swift usually stays out of the political fray, but this year, with just a month to go until midterm elections, the pop superstar is getting involved in a big way.
Swift stunned the pop culture and political worlds Sunday night with a lengthy, impassioned Instagram post in which she endorsed Democrats Phil Bredesen and Rep. Jim Cooper in their Tennessee U.S. Senate and House races, respectively.
“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. She has 112 million followers on Instagram.
Cooper represents the state’s 5th congressional district, and is considered to be in a safe seat. Bredesen, however, is trying to flip a red seat to blue. Democrats are defending more Senate seats than Republicans this fall, particularly in states President Donald Trump won in 2016. A win in Tennessee would go a long way in preventing the GOP from expanding its thin 51-49 margin in the Senate.
Swift, 28, has taken the heat in recent years for avoiding political controversies as pop music peers such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Pink and Kanye West have spoken out on issues or campaigned for politicians. Last year, Swift became one of the more famous faces of the #MeToo movement, when she successfully sued a Colorado disc jockey for groping her. She only sought $1 in damages because she sought to send a message.
Swift’s Instagram post Sunday keyed in on several hot-button social issues.
“I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG,” she wrote. “I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
She also aimed some strident criticism at GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is vying against Bredesen to fill retiring Republican Bob Corker’s Senate seat.
“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,” Swift wrote on Instagram. “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 Bredesen campaign responded to Swift’s endorsement by pushing the former governor’s strategy to appeal to voters across the political spectrum: “It’s clear that Governor Bredesen’s message of working together to get things done is resonating with Democrats, Independents, and Republicans throughout the state. As a U.S. Senator, he will represent Tennesseans of all stripes.”
The pro-Trump Blackburn is locked in a tight race with Bredesen, a centrist Democrat and former two-term governor. Blackburn leads him by two percentage points, according to a Real Clear Politics polling average, after a CBS poll showed her up by eight points and a Fox News poll showed her up five.
Swift’s endorsement could be a boon for Bredesen, who had recently angered some Democrats by saying he would have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court had he been in the Senate. Bredesen, however, has tried to walk an ideological tightrope since Tennessee traditionally votes for Republicans. Trump won the state by more than 20 points in 2016.
Swift concluded her post with a plea for people to register to vote by Tuesday, which is the last day to do so in Tennessee.
The Blackburn campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Source : CNBC