Pop superstar Taylor Swift — once a darling of the far-right and alt-right crowds because of her “Aryan goddess” looks and their own fevered imaginations — broke a years-long policy of silence on political matters in October 2018 to endorse a political party on her Instagram account:
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! ???
The endorsement caused ripples in political spheres, with everyone from pundits to the president weighing in on what they thought of her political leanings and affiliations. Hoaxes soon followed:
Text: “In response to Taylor Swift’s anti-Republican remarks, Spotify & iTunes have dropped all of her songs from their playlists. This will cost her $millions.”
This claim comes from a Christopher Blair project called “America’s Last Line of Defense,” a well-known and well-documented satire and hoax site and Facebook page. Its “About” page makes that extremely clear:
Nothing on this page is real. It is a collection of the satirical whimsies of liberal trolls masquerading as conservatives. You have been warned.
That didn’t stop the story from trending, of course. However, Swift’s announcement did have at least one remarkable real-world effect:
“We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” said Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for Vote.org.
For context, 190,178 new voters were registered nationwide in the entire month of September, while 56,669 were registered in August.
In Swift’s home state of Tennessee, where she voiced support for two Democratic candidates running in this year’s midterms, voter registrations have also jumped.
“Vote.org saw [Tennessee] registrations spike specifically since Taylor’s post,” Guthrie said. The organization has received 5,183 in the state so far this month — at least 2,144 of which were in the last 36 hours, she said, up from 2,811 new Tennessee voter registrations for the entire month of September and just 951 in August.
Guthrie said the site had also seen a big jump in the number of visitors since Swift’s post, with 155,940 unique visitors in the last 24 hours — second only to the number of people who visited on National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 25 when there were 304,942 unique visitors. (The average daily user count for the site is 14,078 in 2018.)
“Thank God for Taylor Swift,” said Guthrie.