Taylor Swift: Star of the Super Bowl and Bane of the Trumpists

The 34-year-old singer and pop icon, who could influence the Nov. 5 presidential election, worries Republicans, who no longer know how to discredit her.

The singer and pop icon Taylor Swift nearly stole the show from the players the evening of Sunday, Feb. 11, in Las Vegas. Her appearance at the Super Bowl, the most-watched television event in America, was highly anticipated by her fans and numerous media outlets, not to mention the National Football League itself.

Arriving just before kickoff from Japan, where she performed as part of her triumphant “Eras” tour, the 34-year-old star caused a sensation. The reason Swift came to the Super Bowl is her love affair of several months with Travis Kelce, a star player for the Kansas City Chiefs. Swift has become a football fan and you can see her regularly in the stands when her boyfriend is playing.

An American branding firm said that the Swift-Kelce relationship has already generated more than $300 million in equivalent brand value; that is, what a brand spends for such media exposure, for the Chiefs and the National Football League, which includes merchandise (such as jerseys bearing Kelce’s name), a new female audience, cosmetic ads during halftime, etc.

The Sunday night win by the Chiefs, who retain their title, is likely to resurrect the Trumpist conspiracy theory about a rigged game and a fake couple. It is bluster, at best. This is bitterness talking. “Reclaiming” Swift — a child of rural, white America, at one time the incarnation of country music and now a huge, global star — was, in fact, a Republican Party dream. And all the more so as football has a primarily white, and in large part conservative, audience.

But Swift’s commitment to LGBTI rights and those of ethnic minorities, to abortion rights and combating violence against women — following a sexual assault in which she herself was a victim and her assailant was convicted — dampened Republican hopes. Not to mention the possibility that she will endorse Joe Biden; an unexpected shot in the arm for him.

A MAGA Conspiracy Theory Driven by Envy

Trumpists from the MAGA movement (“Make America Great Again,” their champion’s slogan), in their delusions about conspiracy, have concocted the idea that Swift is a puppet in the hands of the Democratic Party being used to get Biden reelected. How is that?

First, Republicans allege that Swift is a secret agent in the service of “psychological operations” against their party. That is barely believable; the Pentagon itself has refuted the outrageous allegations that Fox News has aired on a repeating loop. Second, they claim that her relationship with Kelce is totally fabricated to draw attention and excite fans — especially the 8 million new, young voters who have reached voting age since 2020.

MAGA supporters have reason to be afraid, as there are precedents. In the 2018 midterms, Swift openly supported Democratic candidates in her home state of Tennessee on her Instagram account, which counts 280 million subscribers across the political spectrum. In September 2023, she also encouraged her fans to register to vote. In just 24 hours, an additional 35,000 young voters were added to the rolls. As seen in the Netflix documentary about her, “Miss Americana,” her staff discouraged her from positioning herself politically, but she did so anyhow.

Kelce, who is less known and less wealthy than Swift, is not to be left out of MAGA ire since, for his part, he starred in a commercial for the Pfizer COVID vaccine as well as a commercial for Bud Light, condemned because one of its campaigns included a transgender influencer. Swift and Kelce — two popular entertainment figures; two sources of MAGA envy. And in the front row is Donald Trump, who proclaimed himself more famous than the singer after Time magazine named her “Person of the Year” last December.

Mobilizing Young Progressives

What impact will Swift really have on the election in November? The stakes are high for several reasons. For one, the presidential election will be played out largely in suburban areas where she has many fans. Equally, Democrats need to heavily mobilize young progressives, first-time voters, as well as the prior generation, whose mobilization it cannot afford to see falter. Finally, elections for the House of Representatives, a portion of the Senate and many local governments will also take place on Nov. 5.

A few hours before the Super Bowl, Trump posted a message on Truth Social where he implied that Swift owes her fame and fortune to him and that it would be very ungrateful of the young woman to support Biden. Swift is a woman and, what’s more, a successful one. Without a doubt, this is where the former president and his most ardent supporters have the biggest complaint.

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About Reg Moss 118 Articles
Reg is a writer, teacher, and translator with an interest in social issues especially as pertains to education and matters of race, class, gender, immigration, etc.

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