Singer Taylor Swift made public her political views over the weekend, declaring her support for Tennessee’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Phil Bredesen.
The star, who admitted she has previously been “reluctant” to voice her political opinions, urged her fellow citizens to vote in the November 6 midterm elections as she said revealed she would endorse a candidate who fights for all Americans.
Taking to Instagram, she wrote: “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, 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.
She added: “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 systematic racism we still see in this country towards people of colour is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
Swift was criticised by some for remaining relatively silent during the 2016 election.
She said she is backing Bredesen, a businessman and former governor of Tennessee - where Swift grew up as a teenager - for the Senate, and Democrat Jim Cooper for House of Representatives.
While Swift said she would like to continue voting for women, she wrote Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn’s voting record “appalls and terrifies me.”
She criticised Blackburn, Bredesen’s rival in the Senate race, for opposing equal pay for women and gay marriage, for supporting businesses that refuse to serve gay people, and for voting against reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act, which protects women from domestic violence.
“These are not MY Tennessee values,” Swift wrote.
Ironically, Blackburn held a political fundraiser at a Taylor Swift concert in 2015, local newspaper The Tennessean reported at the time.
Bredesen, who served as governor of Tennessee from 2003 to 2011, was thrilled with the boost. “I’m honored to have your support and that of so many Tennesseans who are ready to put aside the partisan shouting and get things done,” he said in a tweet.
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 Taylor Swift
Swift ended her message with a plea. “Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. We may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100 percent on every issue, but we have to vote anyway,” she wrote.
Her post received 1 million ‘likes’ within six hours.
According to a CBS News/YouGov poll published Sunday, Blackburn is currently leading Bredesen by eight points. The two are running for the seat held by outgoing GOP Senator Bob Corker.
Many fans on Twitter seemed thrilled by Swift’s bold move. Others were furious.