The short answer is the Super Bowl, voting endorsements, and MAGA conspiracies, plus the weird power of celebrity opinion.
Taylor Swift is undoubtedly one of the most famous names in the world right now. The superstar made history last week when she won Album of the Year for the fourth time at the Grammy’s, making her the only artist in history with this accolade. She also is so powerful that she now uses the Grammy’s stage to announce her next album.
Attention now turns to the upcoming Super Bowl (Taylor’s Version) today. Swift is on a red-eye from Tokyo to Las Vegas to support her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.
This upcoming appearance has generated buzz and leaves people wondering what her cameo will bring. This has manifested in gambling sites taking bets on various Swift-related scenarios. These bets include: how many times CBS will show her on camera, whether Kelce will propose after the game, and (most significantly) whether she’ll endorse President Biden’s reelection. This politically charged bet is a nod to the irrational turn against Taylor Swift by far-right conspiracies.
Swift is no stranger to hostility. She expects it with her stratospheric levels of fame. But attacks have exponentially increased since her romance with Kelce, angering some football fans with just her presence. The singer commented on this during her profile for Time Magazine after she was named 2023 Person of the Year.
“I’m just there to support Travis. I have no awareness of if I’m being shown too much and pissing off a few dads, Brads and Chads.”Taylor Swift
Now with the Super Bowl only hours away, Trump supporters are also adding to the heat Swift is facing. With his supporters conspiring against her, they’re trying to comprehend her power and influence through nonsensical theories.
The Weirdness Of The MAGA-Swift Conspiracies:
It seems that Swift has done more than upset “a few dads, Brads and Chads.” Her appearances at games and romance with Kelce have sparked a right-wing media storm. Theories have emerged that the Super Bowl is rigged and that the star herself is a PSYOP, a government plant. This baseless speculation was ignited by Jesse Watters, a Fox News host. Watters publicly came to the misguided conclusion that the Pentagon, “floated turning Taylor Swift into an asset”.
He went on to suggest that Swift could be “a front for a covert political agenda.” His evidence? A clip from a 2019 conference organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.
In the clip, Swift is merely mentioned as an example of a powerful influencer. A Pentagon spokesperson, Sabrina Singh, quickly dismissed the claims. Singh cleverly said, “As for this conspiracy theory, we are going to shake it off.” Despite this, many Republican supporters took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to support the delusional rants condemning Swift.
Kelce himself encouraged outrage after appearing in ads for the Pfizer Covid vaccine, to the dismay of the significantly right-wing N.F.L. audience. It seems clear to conspiracists that Swift is in an invented relationship with Kelce. Her “planted” public support of him, credited by MAGA as a significant reason for the Chiefs advancing to the Super Bowl, has thus been part of this elaborate plan to give Swift a stage to endorse Biden. This plays into the regretful pattern of the far-right to obsess over political conspiracies. Swift, a singer not a politician, is no exception to getting dragged in.
Nikki Haley and Donald Trump’s POV:
However, not all Republicans have accepted the conspiracies around Swift as fact. Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley even spoke out against the claims. In an interview, she said, “Taylor Swift is allowed to have a boyfriend…To have a conspiracy theory of all of this is bizarre. Nobody knows who she’s going to endorse, but I can’t believe that’s overtaken our national politics.”
Despite Haley’s sensible dismissal, it seems that the conspiracies have reached the highest levels of the MAGA camp. A source close to Donald Trump has threatened to declare a “holy war” on Swift, if she goes on to endorse Biden.
As reported by The New York Times, Biden aides have dubbed support from Swift to be “the endorsement of their wildest dreams.” This isn’t a surprise considering the reach of the singer.
In a poll conducted by Newsweek, an endorsement from Swift would have the greatest impact on younger voters. Approximately 3 in 10 Americans under 35 said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate backed by her. President Biden himself is vying for Swift, and her Swifties, support.
Swift & Politics
Partisan anger towards celebrities like Swift is “Nothing New.” Swift herself has spoken on politics, albeit tentatively. In her 2020 documentary, “Miss Americana,” Swift discussed voicing her opinion during the 2018 midterm elections. It would break a career-long silence on politics. She would endorse Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen over the GOP’s Marsha Blackburn, whom she described as “Trump in a wig,” for the Senate in Tennessee.
In the documentary, Swift also openly regrets not speaking out against Donald Trump during the 2016 election. Therefore, in 2020, she endorsed Joe Biden; as well as encouraging fans to get out and vote. These social media posts have caused spikes in voting registration by the tens of thousands.
Celebrity Political Endorsements
In 2024, some people believe that celebrities are more than just people we view on a red carpet. In an article from The Hollywood Reporter, younger people believe that celebrities are “appropriate” people to speak out about issues like the Israel-Palestine conflict. With statistics like these, Gen Z believes there is a moral responsibility for celebrities to speak up about political issues in the world.
Swift must now decide to speak out about topics like the presidential election and risk the “shut up and sing” criticism. Young people find it as a waste if Swift does nothing because she has a powerful voice with all the cameras on her today in Las Vegas. It is a complicated decision, and the reasoning isn’t definitive.
Swift must take into consideration that the public is generally dismissive of celebrity opinion when concerning real-world issues. After all, when LeBron James stood up for racial injustice, he was told to “shut up and dribble.” Celebrities are, to some, an escape from the world and its problems. When celebrities openly discuss issues, the portal to escape from the real world disappears.
Will Swift Use Her Voice For More Than Singing?
Swift has not commented on geopolitical issues in recent months, but her voice is not exempt from the wider conversation of political hostilities and current events. She has even been used as an example of why celebrities should keep their opinions to themselves. Her endorsement of Phil Bredesen in 2018 did not have the results Swift wanted.
In the end, Marsha Blackburn was victorious by a wide margin. It is impossible to know whether Swift’s endorsement had the opposite effect as intended. However, examples like this prove, at least to some, that celebrity voices hurt more than help when it comes to politics.
Nevertheless, with Swift’s social media presence being one of the highest in the world, and her reach across popular culture being larger than ever, any comment she makes has the potential to cause waves.
Will the star “Speak Now” on her political stance? No one knows for sure, but as Las Vegas gears up for the Super Bowl LVIII, all eyes will be on the game and Swift to see what happens next.