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Don’t blame her? Republicans fear Taylor Swift could be trouble as elections nears

The singer used to be a political blank space but now many in the US wonder what her romance with Travis Kelce means for Donald Trump and Joe Biden

It has become one of the inescapable sights of the American football season; Taylor Swift, festooned in Kansas City Chiefs regalia and joining countless other Chiefs fans on their wintry odyssey to the Superbowl in the celebratory – and triggering- Swag Rock boogie with which they celebrate every touchdown, every win. And as if the election atmosphere wasn’t strange enough, it has also become one of the symbols of what many Maga and Trump supporters believe to be a grand conspiracy to tip the election in Joe Biden’s favour.

The dauntless ascent of Swift from pop-country waif to supreme being within the popular music stratosphere did not occur without a sharpening focus on the nature of her political leanings. There’s internet footage somewhere of Donald Trump in 2014 – just a crazy kid with a big dream in those days – night-driving around with Swift’s song Blank Space playing on the stereo.

For years, with her political views unspoken, Swift was perceived as a poster girl for a traditional America, but to the intense disappointment of many conservatives, the past five years have seen her pin more liberal convictions to the mast.

In 2018, she denounced Tennessee Republican senate nominee Marsha Blackburn in a message stating that much as she wished to support the principle of women in office, Blackburn’s “voting record in congress appals and terrifies me”. Within a year, she had spoken up in favour of gun control and pro-choice. She performed at a Pride celebration in New York. In the summer of 2020, she tweeted that “we need to elect people who will fight against police brutality and racism of every kind”.


And Swift’s “we” is considerable, with a social media reach of 500 million people and her mammoth ongoing Eras tour the first to surpass $1 billion in revenue.

Her romance over the past five months with Chiefs tight-end and all round football catching machine Travis Kelce has thrust her into a different dimension of the fame-entertainment industry. American football falls somewhere between winter pastime and religion. And the Chiefs are blazingly successful: this year marks their fourth Superbowl appearance in five years.

At a fundamental level, Swift is simply a 34-year-old woman loyally cheering on her boyfriend as he plays a football game. She can’t help that she is also the most famous music star on the planet. So when the Chiefs score – which is often – she knows that the camera – and therefore a good portion of America – will immediately turn for a nosey behind the glass-panelled area at those fans who are with the band, so to speak. She’s caught in a bind here. If she under-emotes, it will create headlines. So her chosen and understandable alternative is to join all the regular Chief fans by performing the swaying Swag Rock move. With a Swiftian gusto.

It’s a sight that worries alt-right Republicans because in addition to being a prime hunk of Ohioan football real estate, Kelce is an enthusiastic endorser of the Covid vaccine. As a couple with the capability of creating a nuclear-powered surge of football and pop music, the fear that Swift will publicly endorse Biden has morphed into conspiracies that the entire football season has been somehow rigged to ensure that Swift’s team wins it all.

“I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month,” Vivek Ramaswamy, who bowed out of the Republican nomination bid after Iowa, wrote on social media after the Chiefs ended the Ravens’ season in Baltimore.

“And I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall.”

It’s a gloriously madcap proposition: that a $140 billion sports league has been manipulated – presumably with the acquiescence of the other competing teams – to engineer a perfect outcome for besotted Swifties.

“You don’t have to take my word for it,” said alt-right personality Jack Posobiec.

“The New York Times has already said that the Biden administration is already working on what they call the Taylor strategy. It is not about her as a person. It’s about the machine that’s around her and how they can use the power of her celebrity. It matters now because they change the power of voting, they changed it to ballots. And by the way, we can do this as well. We don’t have Taylor Swift on our side. But you know who we have? We have Kid Rock. We have Ted Nugent. We have influencers. Right? We have Jon Voight.”

Jon Voight! Fine actor, but it’s a while since Deliverance showed at the cinema. There is no doubt, of course, that Biden would be thrilled with an endorsement from Swift, which would give him otherwise unattainable kudos with generations of young Americans. Equally, there’s also no doubt that any shout-out would come from Swift’s deeply-held convictions as to the best way forward for America. And it would confirm the worst fears of Trump fans who once held high hopes for Swift: a nightmare dressed like a daydream ...