If you haven’t been keeping up with local political elections in the last few years, the name Marsha Blackburn might seem unfamiliar. But, following the release of Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated documentary, Miss Americana, Blackburn may not be a name you will forget ever again. In Miss Americana, Swift spends a good amount of time shedding some unfiltered feelings about Blackburn and her 2018 election, even going so far as to refer to her as “Trump in a wig.” So, who exactly is Marsha Blackburn?
Blackburn is a Republican Senator from Tennessee with right-wing policies that closely mirror those of our current President, Donald Trump. Before her senate tenure, she also served in the House for Tennessee’s 7th congressional district for 16 years, from 2003 to 2019. Blackburn’s political stances are all very aligned: The Senator is anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage and anti-LGBTQ+ rights. She has also continuously voted against initiatives that would help the environment, among other issues.
Beyond that, Blackburn’s voting record in Congress is certainly anti-women and anti-equality in many ways. The Senator voted against equal pay for women, against gay marriage, and has proven to be starkly anti-immigrant — she even worked to stop states from establishing sanctuary cities.
The politician has repeatedly come out against tax increases for the wealthy, won’t support gun control legislation, and has been intensely pro-Trump’s border wall, which Swift believes makes her a dangerous force on Capitol Hill. Essentially, she stands against everything Taylor Swift has now made clear she stands for and it makes sense that the singer draws all the similarities between Blackburn and Trump.
In a telling moment during Miss Americana, Swift is shown crying and extremely frustrated over Blackburn’s Senate election lead in Swift’s home state of Tennessee. During a heating argument with her management team where she expresses how important it is to her to speak out against Blackburn she says, “This is on the homefront! I need to be on the right side of history.”
In the most emotional scene of the entire documentary, Swift laments how Blackburn is doing everything in her power to oppress fellow women and the LGBTQ+ community, particularly against domestic abuse protections, and this is shortly following Swift’s own sexual assault lawsuit against DJ David Mueller.
Ultimately, Swift says “I need to do this,” and finally broke her longtime political silence in a 2018 Instagram post endorsing Bredesen, saying she was concerned for the future of America and people in Tennessee should Blackburn win. In her post, she referenced how much she cares about LGBTQ+ rights, and speaking out against systemic racism that imposes violence on people of color. Stating that she couldn’t stomach voting for someone who isn’t here to fight for the dignity of everyone, “no matter their skin color, gender or who they love,” she called out Marsha Blackburn for being so anti-equality.
“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,” Swift stated. Swift specifically calls out Blackburn for voting against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which protect women from domestic violence 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,” Swift stated. While Swift tried to do what she could to implore voters to swing towards Blackburn’s competing candidate, Phil Bredesen, before midterms in 2018, Blackburn ultimately won the vote.
Shortly after her Instagram post, it was also reported that her choice to speak out about politics could have potentially led to a huge voter registration spike. The day after Blackburn’s senate win, Blackburn appeared on Fox & Friends to tout her victory and told Taylor Swift to “shake it off,” only solidifying her status as a nemesis of the singer.
Nowadays, Blackburn can be found partaking during the ongoing impeachment trial, saying she will not act as a “useful contrarian” during the process this week. Several weeks ago, she called for the recusal of Democratic candidates in the trial, saying, “Their presidential ambitions prohibit their ability to view this trial through an objective lens.” And just this week, Blackburn was accused of breaking Senate rules by doing a live television interview while impeachment proceedings are going on. From the looks of her first year in office and the trajectory of her politics, it’s safe to say Blackburn is likely to stay in Swift’s burn book (pun intended).
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