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Taylor Swift helps boost voter registrations after endorsing Democrats

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Pop music luminary Taylor Swift’s decision to wade into electoral politics for the first time on Sunday has driven a spike in online voter registration, particularly among young people, according to the website Vote.org.

The nonprofit site, which helps people register online, reported 240,000 new registrations since Swift posted a message on Instagram endorsing two Democratic candidates in her home state of Tennessee and urging people to register.

By comparison, the site recorded 57,000 new registrations in all of August and 190,000 last month. About 102,000 of the registrations since Sunday were among voters between 18 and 29 years old, an increase that the site said was likely prompted by Swift’s post.

Swift’s enormous reach – she has 112 million Instagram followers and 84 million Twitter followers – underscores the way that celebrities can leverage their online presence by sending messages instantaneously to their millions of fans.

The registration deadline is Tuesday in Tennessee and more than a dozen other states.

Polls show the U.S. Senate contest between Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, is virtually tied in a state that Trump won by 16 points in 2016.

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Swift, who has largely eschewed politics even as she has become one of pop music’s biggest global superstars, told her followers she could not support Blackburn due to the congresswoman’s record on women’s issues and gay rights.

“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,” wrote Swift, who is careful to control her public image.

In addition to Bredesen, Swift endorsed Democratic U.S. Representative Jim Cooper for re-election in a Tennessee congressional race.

Vote.org acknowledged it was not possible to measure the direct impact of Swift’s impact.

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“But one thing is clear, we’re seeing a massive surge in the 18-24 and 25-29 voters,” the site said in a statement.

Swift’s previous unwillingness to weigh in on political matters led some members of the alt-right movement to claim her as one of their own, a phenomenon that her representatives have rejected.

Many celebrities identify as liberals, and Democrat Hillary Clinton enjoyed broad support from actors, musicians and other popular figures in 2016.

The most notable celebrity to support Trump may be the rapper Kanye West, who was expected to visit the White House on Thursday.

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West and Swift famously engaged in a years-long feud after West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards to question why she had won.

Trump, who has endorsed Blackburn, said on Monday that Swift “doesn’t know anything about” Blackburn, when he was asked at the White House about the pop star’s post.

“Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now,” he added.

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Iran and US trade barbs after drone incident and ahead of new sanctions

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The United States on Monday was due to tighten sanctions on Iran as the two countries traded barbs in a tense standoff sparked by Washington's withdrawal from a nuclear deal.

Both nations say they want to avoid going to war, but tensions have spiralled as a series of incidents, including attacks on tankers and the shooting down of a US drone by Iran in the Gulf, raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict.

On Sunday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a US-made MQ9 Reaper "spy drone" -- also widely used for carrying out military strikes -- had encroached his country's airspace on May 26.

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John Oliver warns Trump didn’t have an ‘Ebenezer Scrooge moment’ deciding to be ‘good’ — he’s still Trump

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The best thing you can say about Donald Trump is that he "maybe hasn't eaten a dolphin before," John Oliver joked on his Sunday episode of "Last Week Tonight."

Oliver warned people that while Trump had a "change of heart" about Iran it was only about Iran. "He didn't have an Ebenezer Scrooge moment, threw open a window and yelled, 'I'm going to be good from now on!'" the host explained. "No, he just didn't bomb some people."

As Fox News explained, the drown that Iran shot down was not simply one from Amazon. Oliver said it wasn't like Trump said, "Alexa, send a drone to surveil Iran." According to Fox's genius analysis, those drones cost actual money.

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Donald Trump’s biggest regret is choosing Jeff Sessions as his attorney general

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In an interview that aired on Sunday, President Donald Trump told "Meet the Press" that his biggest regret is choosing Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general.

"If you could have one do-over as president, what would it be?" NBC host Chuck Todd asked Trump during their interview.

This article first appeared at Salon.com.After the president replied that his do over would involve "personnel," he elaborated that "I would say if I had one do over, it would be, I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general." When Todd asked Trump to clarify if he thought appointing Sessions was his "worst mistake," the president reiterated "yeah, that was the biggest mistake." He added that Sessions is "very talented" but was cut off by a new line of questioning from Todd before he could elaborate.

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