Taylor Swift is getting out the vote.
Over 400,000 people, including around 250,000 under 30, have registered to vote with Vote.org since Swift posted an endorsement of Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and Democratic House candidate Jim Cooper on Instagram, Uproxx reports. The post, which also called out Bredesen’s opponent, representative Marsha Blackburn, for her stances on LGBTQ and women’s rights, specifically pointed Swift’s fans to the registration website. And they’ve responded.
“There is no question that Taylor Swift and many other musicians have had a positive impact on voter registration,” Andy Bernstein, executive director of voter registration nonprofit HeadCount, told CNBC. “What was great about Taylor Swift’s message is that it was truly from the heart and ultimately had a very universal call for participation.”
Swift has historically maintained a politically neutral image, and hasn’t previously publicly commented on an election race, let alone endorsed a candidate. Within days of her breaking her political silence and weighing in on the Tennessee races, registration was soaring.
According to Bernstein, “HeadCount has tracked over 50,000 voter registrations coming directly from artists posting on social media in the last few years. It’s a proven method, and clearly Taylor Swift’s post made the biggest ripple ever.”
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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 New York Times poll released Friday shows Blackburn still leading Bredesen by 14 points. But experts don’t believe that’s the whole story.
“It’s not so much about changing minds as getting people who aren’t paying attention,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who’s worked on campaigns by prominent Democrats Howard Dean, Jerry Brown and recent Alabama Senate seat winner Doug Jones. Trippi attributes an endorsement of Jones by Charles Barkley as energizing young voters and helping Jones win the race. “So it can make a difference, not because of changing minds but because you’re getting the attention and focus of groups that aren’t big turnout demographics.”
Swift’s post had the added effect of angering some of her own fans, particularly those on the far right. Because of her neutrality many of the so-called alt-right believed she may have been a secret supporter of their agenda, including white nationalism and white supremacy. Business Insider reports that in the aftermath of her post, those same alt-right fans were using message board 4chan, which is a hub of alt-right online activity, to call her a traitor, though the perception of her as an “Aryan princess” who supported right wing causes had no basis in anything she had ever publicly said or done.