Taylor Swift, one of the most popular singers in the world, issued a rare public endorsement on Sunday for a Democrat who broke from his party during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and lost the liberal blessing from groups like MoveOn.org.
Democratic Senate candidate and former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen thanked Swift for the endorsement. Swift declared her support for Bredesen over his GOP rival, Representative 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,” Swift wrote in an Instagram post. “Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me.”
She went on to list items that influenced her in support. She said Blackburn has voted against equal pay for woman and believes businesses have the right to refuse service to gay couples.
Bredesen thanked Swift for her support, writing, “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.”
Swift has received criticism in the past for not speaking out politically. The Guardian chastised the singer-songwriter for not openly criticizing President Donald Trump.
In her Instagram post, Swift admitted to being 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 differently about that now.”
In 2013, Swift reported that Denver-based radio DJ David Mueller had placed his hand up her skirt and her bare backside during a meet-and-greet. The two engaged in a back-and-forth legal battle until a judge ruled in Swift’s favor last year.
Swift’s endorsement of Bredesen comes on the heels of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation late Saturday to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh’s nomination process was marked by a bitter fight between Republicans and Democrats amid allegations that he committed sexual assault in the early 1980s.
"It’s something that happened when they were in their teens, if it happened at all."
Support for Kavanaugh largely fell along party lines, with a few exceptions – including Bredesen, who said during a TV interview that he would have supported Kavanaugh’s nomination if he were a Senator because the sexual assault allegations lacked sufficient evidence, The Tennessean reported.
“In my mind, you kind of ended up with a very opaque situation three and a half decades ago where there was no particular corroboration of it or disapproving it,” Bredesen reportedly said. “It’s something that happened when they were in their teens, if it happened at all. And I just sort of felt like it didn’t rise to the level of you would disqualify somebody from the Supreme Court based on that stuff.”
Bredesen’s support of Kavanaugh has made him unpopular with Democrats, who have not won statewide since 2006. Two prominent Democratic groups, MoveOn and Priorities USA, have withdrawn their support, according to The Tennessean.
On Friday, MoveOn tweeted that it was “cancelling a planned six-figure digital video ad expenditure for Phil Bredesen in Tennessee due to his Kavanaugh position.”
Swift’s endorsement of Bredesen made no explicit mention of Kavanaugh or the sexual assault allegations, but his nomination has become a rallying cry for Democrats seeking to take back Congress in the November midterms.
“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,” Swift wrote, concluding: “Happy Voting!”