Musician Taylor Swift has typically been private about her political leanings. That’s disappointed her fans, considering Taylor’s image as a more progressive voice working within the traditionally conservative artistic milieu of country music. Her silence has been criticized as tacit approval of white supremacists’ appropriation of Swift as their “Aryan goddess” by white suprematists, and her album Reputation has been dubbed “a piece of Trump-era pop art.”
But now she’s opening up politically, and it seems life in the Donald Trump’s era is the driving force for the decision. “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions,” she wrote yesterday (Oct. 7) in an Instagram post shared with her 112 million followers, “but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.” Ahead of the deadline for voter registration on Oct. 9, she joined other artists (including Cardi B) in encouraging fans to register to vote.
Swift, who votes in Tennessee, said her candidates of choice will be Democrats Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives. Swift explained why her vote won’t go to Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, despite her preference for female candidates, saying that Blackburn’s “voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me”; Swift then noted where she disagreed with Blackburn’s previous record on gender equality, and women and LGBTQ rights. Tennessee currently has two Republican senators, but there appears to be a chance for Bredesen to win.
Despite staying out of the politically fray, Swift has in the past been outspoken about sexual abuse and harassment, and in the summer of 2017 took to court a former DJ who harassed her. It seems her public endorsements follow the controversial confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court despite the accusations of sexual misconduct made against him. Predictably, Swift’s endorsements were criticized by Republicans.
The public endorsements also added a new chapter to the long-standing Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West saga: Those who initially took West’s side because they saw him as a compatriot in the fight against the conservative values Swift supposedly represented might be shocked to find themselves, only a few years later, in a world where she is openly endorsing Democrats while he is supporting Trump.