Taylor Swift is the Right’s new favorite anti-hero. Some conservatives have been quaking at the football-pop culture crossover that is the relationship between Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Now that the Chiefs are headed to the Super Bowl, they’re apoplectic. 

“I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl,” failed presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy posted. “And I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall. Just some wild speculation over here, let’s see how it ages over the next 8 months.”

Conspiracy theory peddler Jack Posobiec offered up this consolation: “We don’t have Taylor Swift on our side, but you know who we have? We have Kid Rock. We have Ted Nugent. We have influencers. We have all these people — Jon Voight.” Just the celebrities the Right needs to win over women and young people. 

A Fox News segment weighed the question, “Is Taylor Swift a Pentagon psyop?” And Rolling Stone reported that former President Donald Trump himself has complained that he is “more popular” than Swift. 

The Swift conspiracy theory, to the extent that anyone actually believes it, seems to go something like this: The NFL has rigged the game in favor of the Kansas City Chiefs, the already wildly successful team that will have competed in four of the last five Super Bowls. Swift has had her popularity boosted by government goons, and together the Pfizer-loving Kelce and Swift will endorse President Joe Biden, wreak havoc on American norms, and ride off in an electric getaway car. 

Swift has so far declined to endorse Biden for the 2024 election, but that hasn’t stopped the administration from keeping her on a wish list of surrogates. Swift did endorse Biden shortly before the 2020 election, and he won. Coincidence, I think not! 

The Right’s distaste for Swift, sometimes reasonable, sometimes not, largely began somewhere around 2018 when the pop star first weighed in on national politics, endorsing the Senate run of a Democrat from her home state of Tennessee. 

Since then, your opinion on America’s sweetheart has become a political litmus test, at least for those in the MAGA crowd. In Echelon Insights polling from last summer, Swift had an overall 50% approval rating, which was matched by her approval among “party-first Republicans.” Among “Trump-first Republicans,” her approval rating was 27%. 

Occam’s razor, the principle that the simplest explanation is the best, may be illustrative here. Swift is wildly popular among young women because they grew up, or are growing up, with her. She may be a Democrat, but as commentator Michael Knowles says, she’s “temperamentally conservative.” Her popularity comes in spite of politics, not because of it.

If Biden wins in November, it won’t be because of the get-out-the-vote efforts of a pop star. It will, however, have something to do with a certain figure who insists he’s “more popular” than she is.