This week, the unexpected pairing of pop sensation Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce took a surprising detour into the realm of political conspiracy theories.
progressed to the championship game of the NFL.
Numerous unfounded speculations surfaced on online platforms, ranging from allegations that Swift was involved in psychological warfare tactics for the Pentagon to the belief that she and her boyfriend, a two-time Super Bowl winner, were crucial players in a covert scheme to aid President Biden’s reelection in 2024. Another version of the rumor suggested that the Chiefs’ victory was orchestrated as part of a strategy for the February 11th game in Las Vegas.
Conservative political and media personalities such as previous GOP nominee Vivek Ramaswamy, activist Laura Loomer, and One America News Network host Alison Steinberg have helped spread the accusations.
The initial journey to reach the billion-dollar milestone could potentially impact the presidential election if she encourages her large following to support a specific candidate.
The intersection of pop culture and politics has been well-established. The entertainment sector has served as a significant source of political donations. Additionally, politicians frequently leverage the fame of celebrities to enhance their own appeal.
What impact would a Swift endorsement have on Biden’s campaign?
The strength of the influence is not entirely certain. In the case of Swift, there is evidence that she is capable of increasing voter registration to some extent.
received over 2.5 million likes.
In September, Taylor Swift shared a brief message on her Instagram profile, urging her 272 million followers to register for voting. The post garnered more than 2.5 million likes.
Resulted in over 35,000 sign-ups.
Vote.org is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization.
Swift’s massive fan base gives her a powerful voice. An SSRS poll conducted in October 2023 found that about 6 in 10 U.S. adults called themselves at least casual fans of the singer, with 8% saying they’re big fans. The poll also found that 8 in 10 U.S. adults said they’d heard of her relationship with Kelce and the majority of those familiar with it considered it a real relationship, rather than a publicity stunt.
According to Joel Penney, an associate professor at Montclair State University, individuals in popular culture are drawn to certain topics and give them their focus. This has become a driving force in today’s politics, where attention and identity are key. As evidenced by Donald Trump’s unexpected rise to the presidency in 2016, his celebrity status as a reality TV star played a significant role.
The unfounded statements regarding Swift are so outlandish that they will push the boundaries of the impact a conspiracy theory can have.
Penney believes that the sudden influx of posts targeting Swift is a ploy to undermine her influence by discrediting her beforehand.
Penney stated that Swift’s impact could pose a formidable challenge, particularly if she openly endorses Biden as she did during the 2020 election.
The criticism towards Swift may also motivate younger voters who wish to support her.
According to Henry Jenkins, a professor at the University of Southern California who researches politics and pop culture, today’s youth are using popular culture references to express their political views. This shared language is what unites them and drives their involvement in political discussions.
Observable tendencies of Swift and Kelce
Both Swift and Kelce have openly spoken about political and other matters that have caused conflict with those on the far-right.
In 2018, Swift ended her previous decision to not share her political beliefs. She revealed on Instagram that she would be supporting Phil Bredesen, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Tennessee, and Jim Cooper, the Democratic incumbent for House. She criticized Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn for her stance against LGBTQ+ rights and her vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013. Despite this, Blackburn ultimately won the Senate election.
In the year 2020, Swift showed her support for Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
During an interview with V Magazine, they stated that “with their guidance, I am hopeful that America will have the opportunity to begin the necessary process of healing.”
In September, Kelce received backlash for his involvement in an advertisement promoting the use of a double dose of the flu vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the use of vaccines. The advertisement was a collaboration with Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company responsible for creating a vaccine in reaction to the pandemic. The vaccine has been targeted by anti-vaccine groups and conspiracy theorists.
Celebrity influencers and the business world that revolves around them have been intertwined in political races for quite some time, predating the popular duo known by some fans as Swelce.
Bill Clinton, the former President, made his debut on MTV in 1992 while serving as governor of Arkansas. In the past, notable celebrities such as Johnny Cash, Mary Tyler Moore, and Willie Nelson showed their support for Jimmy Carter’s presidential bid over four decades ago. Following a successful acting career, Ronald Reagan entered the political arena.
Penney stated that the question of whether this material is effective in popular culture has been proven to be true through history.