Taylor Swift at the 2018 American Music Awards. Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)
To all the people who think celebrities need to keep their mouths shut about politics, this one’s for you. Taylor Swift recently posted a message on her Instagram, opening up publicly for the first time about her political opinions. The award-winning singer-songwriter announced that she will vote in the midterm elections on Nov. 6 in Tennessee, supporting Democrats Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper. Read her message in full below:
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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!
Within 24 hours of Swift’s post, more than 65,000 people registered to vote according to Vote.org (to compare, 190,178 voters registered nationwide during the entire month of September). The number of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who registered to vote in Tennessee also reached around 102,000 within two days following Swift’s post. These eye-opening facts reveal the huge impact artists like Swift have on the socio-political climate.
Supports stake out their spot for Rep. Beto O’ Rourke’s “Turn Out For Texas” rally. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call (Getty Images)
The star’s influence is not surprising considering her 112 million followers on Instagram alone, not to mention the tens of millions of fans that follow her on other social media accounts. Swift has been criticized in the past for not speaking up on issues, like equality and domestic violence, that she sings about.
Now, Swift has put her money where her mouth is, taking a chance at polarizing her brand by standing behind political issues.
Not only did Swift prove the impact celebrities can have when they utilize their platforms to speak out, but she also brought us back to an important conversation that, for some reason, still needs to be addressed: celebrities and athletes should never shut up about politics and “stick to their day jobs.” There are some people who believe that celebrities are somehow not human beings who care about what’s happening in the world around them. Many celebrities, like LeBron James, George Clooney, and (unfortunately) Kanye West have voiced their convictions. A person’s job does not disqualify them to share their beliefs, political opinions, or their stances. To all the haters, “shake it off,” Taylor. We’re proud of you.