The morning after winning the Senate race in Tennessee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) appeared on “Fox & Friends” to take revenge on Taylor Swift.
“Well, I hope Taylor will shake it off,” Blackburn said, making the most obvious pun possible after trouncing the pop megastar’s preferred candidate, Democrat Phil Bredesen, by 10 points and more than 200,000 votes on Tuesday.
Somewhat magnanimous in victory, Blackburn assured Swift and her fans that they “have an open door with me.”
But she also touted her own campaign’s celebrity buzz — “just a host of folks with me from the music industry,” as Blackburn put it, noting her support from Lee Greenwood and gospel singer Larry Gatlin.
Blackburn also name-dropped the Music Modernization Act of 2018, which she supported as a Congress member.
Swift’s surprise endorsement of Bredesen on Instagram last month caused a sensation online. Her denunciation of Blackburn for opposing LGBTQ causes and domestic violence protections inspired her fans to register to vote en masse. It devastated far-right Internet commentators who had hoped that Swift’s years-long silence on national politics meant she was secretly on their side. And it led pundits to wonder whether she could unleash a wave of young, first-time voters in traditionally conservative states.
But in the end, Bredesen didn’t get half as many votes as Swift’s Instagram endorsement got likes.
In retrospect, the attempt to merge the millennial zeitgeist with Tennessee politics was awkward from the start. Witness Bredesen’s cringe-inducing tweet the day after the endorsement, with mashed-together political cliches and lyrical puns far worse than anything Blackburn attempted on “Fox & Friends.”
Social media being the image-obsessed medium that it is, it’s possible that years from now, not nearly as many people will remember what Swift wrote about Blackburn and Bredesen as they’ll remember the star posing with a black beret and U.S. flag beside a giant campaign sign attached to a cattle trailer.
Perspective: Can celebrities swing the midterm elections?