Taylor Swift is in conservative punditry’s crosshairs, as she broke from her usual persona and decided to voice her opinion on politics.
On Instagram Sunday, the singer lambasted Rep. Marsha Blackburn ― the Republican candidate in a tight race for Senate in Swift’s home state of Tennessee ― over Blackburn’s stance on women’s and LGBTQ issues:
“Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Swift wrote in a lengthy post. “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.”
The detailed takedown, understandably, was much appreciated by the Democrat she endorsed, Phil Bredesen, Tennessee’s former governor.
As long as she was at it, Swift also plugged Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper, whose district comprises core Nashville. Cooper, though, probably doesn’t need her help. First elected in 2002, he’s long thrived as one of the few Democrats among Tennessee’s nine-member House delegation.
Swift’s foray into politics was an unprecedented move for her. Indeed, she’s been so silent amid the nation’s growing political clamor and discord that an entire spectrum of people ― including neo-Nazis! ― has embraced her as one of their own over the years.
That now has changed, as various parts of the conservative world took umbrage with her post.
Dan Gainor, writing for Fox News and offering not a shred of evidence to support his claim, ranted that Swift’s “open liberalism was clearly designed as a change in the narrative after the Hollywood left lost the Supreme Court fight” over Brett Kavanaugh.
Professional bad-faith commentator Tomi Lahren told Swift to stay in her lane:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (who himself has dabbled in music) tweeted a zinger:
(It’s easy to see where his daughter, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, gets her cutting tone.)
Charlie Kirk, the founder of ultra-conservative Turning Point USA whose events are sometimes attended by neo-Nazis, got very upset on Fox & Friends, claiming that Swift didn’t write her own Instagram post and that she was “fed bad information.”
Of course, the chagrin was palpable on the site that felt most betrayed by Swift, 4chan. As The Daily Beast first reported, neo-Nazis and trolls who once hailed Swift as their “Aryan goddess” have to deal with being left in the dust by her.
“Her career is over now,” one 4chan user wrote. “She’ll now be used as an example of how bad it is for you to abandon your race.”
President Donald Trump got involved in the outrage. In comments to reporters Monday afternoon, he echoed other conservatives in opining that Swift doesn’t know enough about politics to join the conversation. He also professed to now be less of a fan of the singer.
It was inevitable that Trump would pile on. Reactions from the right often follow a similar pattern: the dark corners of the internet, like 4chan, get upset; the very loud and proud white conservatives on Twitter get upset; Fox News commentators (especially Tucker Carlson) get upset; then Trump weighs in (though usually on Twitter).
In this case, we quickly made it to step four, courtesy of the country-pop star.
This story has been updated with Trump’s reaction.