Taylor Swift has made her first foray into US politics, publicly endorsing two Democrats for the upcoming midterm elections, while aligning herself to fight for LGBTQ rights, gender equity, and an end to the “terrifying, sickening and prevalent” racism in the US.
“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 on social media on Sunday night, in a plea for her young fans to register and vote. The post accrued 360,000 Instagram likes within the first hour.
“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.”
In the post she backs Democrats in the key state of Tennessee, saying she “cannot support” Marsha Blackburn, the Republican candidate for the Senate who was endorsed by Donald Trump last week, and has voted with Trump almost all the time. (“I’m politically incorrect and proud of it,” the arch conservative said in her 2017 Senate announcement video.)
Tennessee is a key race in the mid-terms. While the state is historically Republican, the Senate polls are close: Blackburn is locked in a battle to hold the seat for her party against the comeback of former governor and bipartisan Democrat Phil Bredesen.
“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn,” wrote Swift, who has drawn criticism for being one of the only pop stars who never came out publicly against Trump. “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,” Swift wrote.
Swift instead endorsed two Democratic candidates: Bredesen for the Senate, and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives. Cooper is also considered bipartisan, a member of the Blue Dog coalition of conservative democrats.
“Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values,” Swift implored. “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.”
After Swift’s kind words, Bredesen’s campaign said: “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.”
This story was originally published in theguardian