Superstars and Stripes: Politics in Hollywood

Posted by @hollywoodlife on Instagram

Despite her turbulent career marked by controversy and the development of one of Hollywood’s biggest “reputations,” Taylor Swift strayed from divisive political debates in her 11 years in the limelight; that is, until this past week.

On Monday, Oct. 7, Swift took to Instagram to relay her political message to fans, calling for young people to register to vote in the midterm elections and presenting her personal views. She continued on to explain how she would be voting in the state of Tennessee and discouraged others from casting their vote for incumbent Marsha Blackburn. Swift asserted her beliefs in equality for all and provided examples as to how Blackburn does not match her values.

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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! 🗳😃🌈

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This political message marks a stark contrast to Swift’s rather quiet political past, as she clearly stated that she will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives and encouraged others, especially young people, to follow suit.

Within 24 hours of Swift’s bold post on Instagram, the state of Tennessee had a striking 65,000 voter increase in registration. While correlation does not imply causation, we can’t help but think Swift played a major role in this trend.

Swift continued this newfound political rhetoric at the American Music Awards Tuesday night upon being named artist of the year, stating “You know what else is voted for by the people? The midterm elections on Nov. 6. Get out and vote!”

Taylor is far from the only Hollywood star mobilizing fans ahead of the midterm elections. Celebrities across industries have been taking to social media to emphasize the importance of voting this year.

Some have gone even further with their activism, like Amy Schumer who attended anti-Kavanaugh demonstrations in Washington D.C., Tracee Ellis Ross who donned an “I am a Voter” t-shirt while hosting the AMAs, and Kanye West who met with Donald Trump in order to discuss his political agenda.

Many are quick to express their opinions on the matter of celebrities entangling themselves in politics. While some say that stars should stick to their industry, others believe that our favorite actors and singers should take advantage of their platform and spread meaningful messages.

Social media has provided the general public with more connection than ever to Hollywood. Their opinions have become increasingly salient and young people are beginning to notice.

Will celebrities like Taylor Swift vocalizing their political beliefs make a true impact this election cycle? Only time will tell if, after the midterms, “everything has changed.”

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