Why Republicans view Taylor Swift as an antihero, but Democrats should be aware that her support does not imply that the situation is resolved…

Why Republicans antihero Taylor Swift as an antihero, but Democrats should be aware that her support does not imply that the situation is resolved….

 

A pop icon falling for one of the NFL’s preeminent superstars may seem like a slice of Americana – a scene from a small-town high school magnified by a factor of 10 million.

 

Why Republicans view Taylor Swift as an antihero, but Democrats should be aware that her support does not imply that the situation is resolved...
But this is America in 2024 so, of course, nothing magical stays that way.

To be clear, public opinion data suggests that most Americans think Taylor Swift is good for the NFL. But with her beau Travis Kelce’s Kansas City Chiefs heading to a fourth Super Bowl in five years, and with Swift herself reportedly preparing for a journey across the globe to cheer him on in the big game, the right-wing talk machine has gone into overdrive.

Fox News host Jesse Watters suggested that Swift may be a Pentagon asset used to combat online misinformation. Former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy tweeted that he thinks Swift and Kelce are being artificially propped up by the media pending an upcoming Swift endorsement of Joe Biden. OAN referred to the couple as a “Massive Super Bowl Psy-op,” a brainwashing campaign designed to indoctrinate citizens to an elite agenda and away from religion.

The idea that the Swift-Kelce romance is some sort of deep-state plot is perhaps gaining some traction in far-right circles because it lines up with other right-wing conspiracy theories and the right’s broader agenda.

Swift has endorsed Democrats in the past, including Joe Biden in 2020. Kelce, while not politically outspoken, was featured in a Pfizer ad touting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to believe, without evidence, that a secret group of rulers is controlling the world, as well as that vaccines cause autism.

While there isn’t public opinion data yet on the theories from Fox News and the right-wing echo chamber that the Swift-Kelce romance is an elaborate left-wing scheme, it contains elements of similar conspiracies for which partisan splits exist.

And opinions on Swift herself are similarly polarized. The singer is viewed favorably among virtually all groups in America, although Republicans are the only group in which as many members dislike Swift as like her.

And opinions on Swift herself are similarly polarized. The singer is viewed favorably among virtually all groups in America, although Republicans are the only group in which as many members dislike Swift as like her.

Taylor Swift has brought a unique element to NFL fandom. I haven’t seen fans of my hometown Buffalo Bills make signs denigrating a pop star since they thought Jon Bon JoviJon Bon Jovi wanted to buy the team and move it to Toronto in 2014.

Yet, as a political scientist, I know it’s an open question whether any of this matters politically.