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A Republican tantrum against Taylor Swift for fear she will support Biden

The staunchest supporters of Donald Trump believe in a conspiracy theory according to which the Super Bowl is rigged so that the Kansas City Chiefs will win, giving Travis Kelce and his girlfriend a chance to endorse the president

Taylor Swift support Biden
Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs' victory on January 28 in Baltimore, Maryland.Patrick Smith (Getty Images)
María Porcel

Who will win Super Bowl LVIII on February 11? It is the question that millions of NFL fans and a good part of the country is asking. The Super Bowl is the biggest sports show of the year, and the third most-watched event on television, after the Thanksgiving parade in New York and the Oscars. However, in this tense election year, with more than nine months to go until the election, there are other people asking the same question. The circles closest to former president Donald Trump are already putting forward conspiracy theories involving President Joe Biden, the NFL, one of its star players and the most famous singer in the world: Taylor Swift.

“I wonder who will win the Super Bowl next month,” Vivek Ramaswamy, the unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination and staunch Trump supporter, posted on X. “And I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall.”

The couple he was alluding to has been persecuted and analyzed for the last six months: Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce, both 34. They started dating last summer, and since September the performer has attended most of the player’s games around the country. She was also there last Sunday, when the Missouri team made it into the Super Bowl. Swift is also expected in Las Vegas for that game on the 11th, even though she is scheduled to play a concert in Tokyo the day before.

But in the universe that revolves around Trump, both the fact that the Chiefs have reached the final and that Swift may be attending it is all evidence of manipulation by the media and Biden’s own circle against the Republican candidate. That universe has reached the point of suggesting that Swift is a secret Pentagon agent seeking Biden’s re-election and that she is with Kelce in order to wield more power jointly.

Kelce, meanwhile, has participated in an advertising campaign by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in favor of Covid-19 vaccination, something unusual in the often conservative American football league. But the league itself has been changing in recent years: in 2016 Colin Kaepernick complained on the field about discrimination against African-Americans, refusing to stand during the national anthem. In 2017, a large part of the NFL rose up against Trump in protest of police violence and violence against the African-American community (Kelce included).

Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce in a game against the Denver Broncos in October 2023.
Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce in a game against the Denver Broncos in October 2023.Michael Owens (Getty Images)

Trump and his supporters dislike Swift and Kelce; meanwhile, the media clout of the couple and the NFL has grown exponentially thanks to her association with the league, which has experienced a surge in audiences and t-shirt sales due to her millions of fans around the world. A young, wealthy, Democratic-leaning woman taking a player and an eminently masculine and conservative league to a whole new level of attention is something that has made the heads of the most conservative Republicans explode.

On Sunday, when Swift was seen on the field with Kelce, Fox News began criticizing the CO₂ emissions of her private jet. Soon the attacks went further. Spokespeople for Trump have floated the idea that the Super Bowl is “rigged” in order to become the epicenter of “Democratic propaganda.” “Calling it now: KC wins, goes to Super Bowl, Swift comes out at the halftime show and ‘endorses’ Joe Biden with Kelce at midfield,” said host Mike Crispi on Sunday.

These arguments do not stand up to scrutiny. The final between the teams from Missouri and California was expected. Although there were some doubts whether the Chiefs would make it past the Baltimore Ravens in the Conference Championships, their victory was not unexpected. In fact, this 2024 final is exactly the same one that was played out at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami four years ago, on February 2, 2020, and which Kelce’s Chiefs won 31-20. It is also logical that Swift should be there, although no, she will not sing at halftime (Usher will); She has been turning down the offer for years, and this year, immersed as she is in a huge tour, it didn’t make sense. Nor does Swift have to be there in order to express support for Biden, as she did in 2020.

Swift’s popularity and fortune seem to have no ceiling: thanks to The Eras Tour she has become a billionaire, she has been chosen by Time as Person of the Year (the first in the world of entertainment to achieve it solo) and her fan base is immense and intergenerational, thanks to her early country, her youthful pop and, now, her more folksy and evolved songs. For a year and a half she will play over 150 concerts in about 40 cities around the world in which she will go over hits from her 17-year career. She has long since become the perfect target for Republicans.

For five years now, the artist, who initially tried to keep her distance from politics, has publicly supported social policies. For example, she is a great defender of the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and has stood against Trump on more than one occasion. In 2016, due to certain personal and professional problems, she remained silent, as she herself said in an interview with Vogue, but shortly thereafter she began to speak publicly: in 2018 she supported two Democratic politicians in Tennessee (where she moved as a teenager to further her musical career, and where she owns two homes), and on her social media accounts she wrote that “I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love.”

Trump said that he liked her music “about 25% less now.” Swift encouraged people to register to vote and even to do so for Joe Biden. In an interview with The Guardian in August 2019, she spoke about the right to abortion (“Obviously, I am pro-choice”) and against Trump: “We’re a democracy — at least, we’re supposed to be — where you’re allowed to disagree, dissent, debate. I really think that he thinks this is an autocracy.” Last September, Swift called on her fans to register to vote, and that day registrations increased by 35,000 people, the best day in four years.

Taylor Swift celebrates with Travis Kelce as the Kansas City Chiefs advance to the final of the American Football League, the Super Bowl, on January 28 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Taylor Swift celebrates with Travis Kelce as the Kansas City Chiefs advance to the final of the American Football League, the Super Bowl, on January 28 in Baltimore, Maryland.

It is true that the Biden Administration would benefit greatly from her support and that of her enormous fan base (almost 100 million on X and 280 million on Instagram). An article in The New York Times stated on Monday that a gesture by her would be very important for the president’s campaign. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked on Monday if the president would attend a concert by the artist, but she avoided answering: “I’m just going to leave it there. I’m not going to get into the president’s schedule at all from here, as it relates to the 2024 elections.” On Trump’s side, no one has opened their mouths, but an article in Rolling Stone states that the former president assumes the singer will support the Democratic nominee and that, instead of getting angry, he has had an ego attack, claiming that he is “more popular” than Swift and that his followers are more loyal.

The governor of California, the Democrat Gavin Newsom, said in September that “Taylor Swift stands tall and unique. What she was able to accomplish just in getting young people activated to consider that they have a voice and that they should have a choice in the next election, I think, is profoundly powerful.” But that support is very different from the search for media attention by Republicans, who also know that placing her in any conversation sells. Although, as Swift’s millions of fans have proven when they feel bad about attacks on their idol, such a plan can backfire completely.

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