Taylor Swift's dive into political waters brings out the lovers and haters

Swift had been famously quiet on politics before this endorsement. In response, President Trump said he likes her music "about 25 percent less now."
by David K. Li /  / Updated 

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The world can’t shake off Taylor Swift’s bombshell: that even she has a political opinion.

The typically apolitical Swift’s stunning endorsement of Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen while offering a harsh critique of his GOP opponent, Marsha Blackburn, in deep red Tennessee left fans on Monday either embracing the "Love Story" singer or vowing to turn off her music.

In an Instagram message posted on Sunday, Swift acknowledge her previous lack of political activity and explained her concern about Blackburn's voting record on women's and LBGTQ issues.

"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," she wrote. "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."

President Trump, after getting off Marine One, walked past reporters — then stopped and turned around when he heard questions about Swift's maiden foray into politics.

"I'm sure Taylor Swift knows knows nothing, or doesn't know anything about her (Marsha Blackburn)," Trump said. "Let's just say I like her music about 25 percent less now."

Swift's supporters praised her for stepping into what has been uncharted waters.

"It takes a lot of guts to express what you believe in, especially when a large portion of your core audience, your bread and butter ... may not share those beliefs. Good for you, @taylorswift13," wrote a Twitter user named @lindsaykustich.

Some supporters speculated that Swift’s successful lawsuit against a Colorado DJ — whom she accused of groping her at a fan meet-and-greet in 2013 — might have been a catalyst for her new political activism.

“#Taylor Swift took her sexual assault perpetrator to court and won, spreading the message that assault matters,” wrote a Twitter user, Joanna Turner Bisgrove. “Bravo to her for using her influence to spread the message that voting in elections matter and that educating yourself on the issues and where your reps stand matters.”

And actor George Takei wondered out loud how much the recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, accused of sexual misdeeds when he was a student, might have impacted Swift.

"Taylor Swift's conservative fans are going ballistic," Takei tweeted. "Huh. It's almost like they're surprised that the woman who sued a man on principle for sexually grabbing her might oppose the party that supports Trump and Kavanaugh."

Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and two-time presidential candidate, mocked Swift and her fans, saying they’re too young to matter anyway.

“So @taylorswift13 has every right to be political but it won’t impact election unless we allow 13 yr old girls to vote,” Huckabee tweeted. “Still with #MarshaBlackburn."

The GOP’s bad blood against Swift was sweet music to her liberal fans.

"Mansplainers gonna ‘splain, ‘splain, ‘splain, ‘splain, ‘splain," Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., tweeted at one of Swfit's male critics.

The Tennessee race, to replace retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker, is one of the nation’s most closely watched, because Democrats have a shot at flipping a seat that’s been held by Republicans since 1995.

Recent polls show Bredesen, a former governor, locked in a tight battle with Rep. Marsha Blackburn, one of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. In her Instagram post, Swift also endorsed incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper.

Moviemaker Rob Reiner welcomed Swift to the world of political activism.

“A big shout out to @taylorswift13. for speaking out,” he wrote on Twitter. “You can single handedly change this country. Impress on your fans how critical and powerful their voices are. If you get them to the polls on Nov. 6, everything you care about will be protected. #VOTE."

Republicans were quick to brand Swift as just another left-leaning entertainment world elite.

"If you haven’t heard, multimillionaire pop star Taylor Swift came down from her ivory tower to tell hardworking Tennesseans to vote for Phil Bredesen,” according to a statement from the National Republican Senate Committee.

Swift, a 10-time Grammy winner with more than 83 million Twitter and 112 million Instagram followers, has been conspicuously absent from the political scene.

While peers like Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus were active in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, Swift stuck to the bleachers.

And alt-right trolls, writing in 4Chan message boards and the Daily Stormer, and have long celebrated Swift as their ideal female — pretty, white, blonde and without a political opinion.

“She stays silent and people condemn her. She speaks and people condemn her, but I think she knew that would happen — and I think she doesn’t care,” wrote a Twitter user named @BrkMeLikAPromis.

“If you’re damned if you do & damned if you don’t, you might as well take a stand for what you believe. Proud of you @taylorswift13."

Branding guru Marvet Britto predicted Swift will lose some fans over the her newfound political voice — but will surely attract at least as many new followers.

"Certainly some may not be in agreement with her becoming political, but guess how many fans she will gain from this?" said Britto, who runs The Britto Agency. "Artists need to stand up and be courageous. She's no longer playing it safe."

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