Taylor Swift Breaks Her Political Silence, Makes First Endorsement

Taylor Swift’s silence about the outrage du jour is a long-running joke on Twitter — it even had its own account! However, the joke officially ends today: 28-year-old Swift has broken her political silence and made her first official endorsement.

Earlier tonight, Swift posted on Instagram that she will be voting as a Tennessee resident in the 2018 midterms on November 6, denounced Republican senatorial candidate Marsha Blackburn, and endorsed two Democrats, Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and House candidate Jim Cooper. She also urged her fans to register to vote.

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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! 🗳😃🌈

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Swift’s full post is also included below:

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!

A CBS News poll was released earlier today that showed Blackburn with an eight-point lead over Bredsen.

I loathe the trend of treating celebrities as experts or turning important situations into celebrity circuses, and it concerns me that anyone would vote based on how his or her favorite celebrity tells them to. However, I believe celebrities have just as much a right to express their political views as any other citizen, and Swift has become more vocal about gender and human rights issues as she got older.

Last year, Swift won a lawsuit against former radio DJ David Mueller after suing him for groping her at a meet-and-greet in 2013. After the verdict, she stated, “I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this. My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”

She was later named as one of TIME’s Silence Breakers in its 2017 Person of the Year issue.

And in March, she revealed she had donated to the March For Our Lives campaign.

As New York Times reporter Alex Burns pointed out, it’s noteworthy Swift chose to focus on local politicians in her own state.

It’s also refreshing to see a celebrity point to a politician’s voting record to explain his or her opposition, rather than resorting to hyperbole or generalizations about the entire party.

One myth I wish would die, though, is the myth that voting against legislation such as the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is equivalent to “voting against equal pay.” Sex discrimination in wages was previously outlawed in 1963 with the passage of the Equal Pay Act; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was about lawsuits.

It’s unclear whether Swift will begin endorsing specific politicians more frequently; she wouldn’t reveal who she voted for in 2008, 2012, or 2016, and she told TIME in 2012, “I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people.” One thing, however, is clear: The Old Taylor really is dead.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.