Taylor Swift has been open in her lyrics about her romantic life, but notoriously close-lipped about her politics. Though the singer-songwriter posted in 2016 on election day advocating the importance of voting, she has never explicitly voiced her political preferences — until she endorsed Democrats Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper in her home state of Tennessee in an Instagram post on Sunday afternoon. Her endorsement comes one week after Kanye West wore a Trump MAGA hat while performing on Saturday Night Live.
“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions,” Swift wrote in an Instagram caption. “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 appears to be referencing the sexual assault trial in which a local radio DJ was convicted of groping her at a meet-and-greet event. Time magazine recognized Swift as among the “Silence Breakers” in their collective Person of the Year issue, in recognition of her candid conversations about the stigma surrounding reporting sexual assault.
Saturday, Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court despite multiple allegations of sexual assault, which might have been a factor in Swift’s decision to speak about politics publicly. “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.” Swift denounced the voting record of incumbent Republican Marsha Blackburn and announced her decision to vote for Democrats Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper. Blackburn had previously held a fundraiser at a Swift concert and publicly quoted her lyrics.
Previously, Swift (who will perform at the American Music Awards on Oct. 9) has been criticized for her apoliticism. Social media users pointed out the seeming obliviousness of a 2017 post in which Swift said she “couldn’t have asked for a better year,” while many were feeling the sting of Trump’s first year in office. Swift has also (through no action of her own) become appropriated by the neo-Nazi alt-right movement as an “Aryan goddess” figurehead for their movement.
Her Instagram post, thus, marks a major shift for Swift, whose lack of public political opinions has allowed fans from both red and blue states to project their own preferences onto her, and fans on social media are appreciating the 28-year-old finally using her massive platform for campaign advocacy.
She also got a thank you from candidate Phil Bredesen:
It looks like the Old Taylor really is dead after all.