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Taylor Swift’s LGBTQ Advocacy Leads to Surge in Voter Registration Ahead of Midterms

Taylor Swift’s got a blank space on her midterm ballots, and she’s writing Democrats’ names.

After the 28-year-old singer broke her political silence to endorse U.S. Senate candidate Jim Bredeson and House candidate Jim Cooper on Instagram, Vote.org claimed new voter registration requests have skyrocketed. “We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” its director of communications, Kamari Guthrie, told BuzzFeed.

For reference, 190,178 people signed up to register during the entire month of September. If the recent numbers remain steady over the week, October would best the previous month’s total in just three days.

In fact, Swift’s unexpected endorsement triggered more registrations than all of August, in which 56,669 people signed up to vote.

Although she has notoriously refrained from weighing in on politics, Swift claimed in a Sunday Instagram post that Bredeson’s GOP opponent in the Tennessee Senate race inspired a change of heart. Marsha Blackburn’s record on LGBTQ rights “appalls and terrifies” her, according to Swift.

“[Blackburn] believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples,” she wrote in a post that was “liked” 1.8 million times. “She also believes they should not have the right to marry.”

The Senate hopeful’s anti-LGBTQ history goes back much farther than that.

Calling marriage a “sacred institution between a man and a woman,” Blackburn lobbied for a 2004 amendment banning marriage equality as a member of the U.S. House. She claimed, “activist judges have taken it upon themselves to usurp the will of the people” after the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized marriage equality.

When GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings was tapped for a role in the Obama administration in 2009, Blackburn accused the anti-bullying organization of promoting a “pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools.”

GLSEN’s agenda “runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children,” she said in an email.

More recently, the conservative politician has been an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump’s unsuccessful attempt to ban transgender people from serving openly in the military. She referred to Obama-era guidance affirming the gender identities of trans students as “overreach.”

She has also voted against including LGBTQ people in domestic violence legislation and national hate crimes protections.

Swift concluded these policies “are not [her] Tennessee values.”

“I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is wrong,” she claimed. “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,” Swift added.

Vote.org cautioned readers from attributing the sharp increase in recent voter registrations solely to the singer’s influence — which includes 112 million followers on Instagram and 83 million followers on Twitter. The website noted that registrations typically tick upward as the midterms approach.

The 2018 midterm elections will be held 27 days from now.

Image via Getty


Nico Lang

Nico Lang is a staff writer for INTO, covering news, politics, and global LGBTQ issues.