Surprise - Not All Country Music Stars Support Republicans 🎸

 Suzanne Cordeiro / American-Statesman

Suzanne Cordeiro / American-Statesman

Liberal Willie Nelson

Last week, 85-year-old Willie Nelson - the legendary country music star, pot enthusiast, and native Texan - announced that he’ll headline a benefit concert for Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke is challenging Republican Senator Ted Cruz and is currently leading in the polls.

Outrage from some fans

Unsurprisingly, some conservative Willie fans were not happy with his decision to campaign for O’Rourke and said that they would no longer support Nelson’s music. Nelson’s response to those fans was blunt: “I don’t care” he said in an interview.


LEANING LEFT:

Mother Jones: Fox News Reports That Fans Are Just “Furious” Willie Nelson Would Have a Rally With Beto O’Rourke

Salon: Willie Nelson laughs at Trump’s base for just discovering the iconic country star supports Democrats

The left sees Nelson's endorsement of O’Rourke as a victory for progressives. To the left, conservatives’ outrage at Nelson’s endorsement is contrived: no real fan of Willie Nelson - who once smoked pot on the roof of the White House - would ever think he was a conservative. They note that he’s previously supported Democrats, including Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. 

LEANING RIGHT:

Breitbart: Willie Nelson Fans Erupt After Rocker Agrees to Campaign for Beto O’Rourke

Fox News: Willie Nelson fans furious over announcement that he'll headline a rally for a Dem candidate

The right views O’Rourke as a far-left “radical” and argue that fans are right to punish Nelson for supporting him. Articles from the right highlight individual comments in social media condemning Nelson to imply that there is a groundswell of opposition to Nelson’s endorsement. One example: “Goodbye Willie, I don’t support socialist commies! ... Like we say in Texas, Now Git!”


Should Willie keep his politics to himself?

Why should he? Conservative outlets are doing another version of the “shut up and dribble” schtick, arguing that entertainers shouldn't voice political opinions. Luckily, political speech is a U.S. constitutional right. A Willie fan who disagrees with his endorsement nailed the point in a Facebook comment: "I don't agree with Willie's choice of candidate but...EVERYONE has the right to speak his/her mind whenever they darn well feel like it."

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