Taylor Swift makes politics personal with endorsement


NASHVILLE — Taylor Swift’s first big jump into politics might have gained her some extra haters, but her endorsement in a competitive midterm U.S. Senate race isn’t likely to result in a massive backlash against the country-singer-turned-pop-star, observers say.

Republicans now have some bad blood with the star after a surprise endorsement on Instagram Sunday night for Tennessee Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and an argument against Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn.

Republicans and President Donald Trump have already rebuked her for the endorsement, but the Swifties closed ranks in support of her and many others have applauded her for speaking out.

“She weighs every word carefully, but she has to because few artists receive more scrutiny than she does,” said Beverly Keel, chair of the department of recording industry at Middle Tennessee State University. “People will analyze every single word.”

Accompanied by a Polaroid-looking selfie, Swift acknowledged being reluctant to publicly voice her opinions in the past. But she says things are different in recent years, a possible reference to when she went to court last year to testify against a radio DJ who she says groped her.

Blackburn’s voting record, Swift wrote, “appalls and terrifies me,” noting Blackburn’s votes against equal pay for women and the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Trump, who has campaigned for Blackburn, dismissed Swift’s opinion of the candidate, saying Swift “doesn’t know anything about her. And let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25 per cent less now, OK?”

She’s not the first artist to endorse Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor who has been helped in his current campaign by four-time Grammy-winner Jason Isbell and rocker Ben Folds. Country artists have weighed in on other state races, including country duo Brothers Osborne playing at a campaign event for Karl Dean, a Democratic candidate for governor.

Keel, a …read more

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