She says that “karma is [her] boyfriend,” but it seems highly unlikely that the political sphere will realize just how much karma may come out of picking a fight against Taylor Swift.
A myriad of seemingly unrelated events have recently propelled this billionaire pop star to the front of the political sphere. Swift was already known for her socially progressive viewpoints, but ever since she revealed that she was dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, her political viewpoints have suddenly become a centerpiece in national discourse.
Because she is pro-choice and supports LGBTQ rights, feminism and gun control, among other progressive stances, conservative Americans have another reason for their level of distaste for Swift — regardless of what they thought of her music.
However, recent instances have caused Swift to become a direct target of far-right conspiracy theories and hatred, especially after more than 35,000 new online voter registrations directly as a result of Swift’s encouragement on Instagram, her open critique of former President Donald Trump and endorsement of President Joe Biden’s campaign in the 2020 presidential election.
These conspiracies are not difficult to find online, and they are even being pushed by influential figures. Former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, a somewhat inconspicuous suggestion that alluded to Swift and Kelce.
“I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month,” Ramaswamy wrote. “And I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall.”
Notably, this conspiracy was posted exactly two weeks after he announced the suspension of his presidential campaign. If it were me, I would’ve considered putting more effort into my campaign than spreading conspiracies — but alas, I’m not a politician.
Other conspiracy theorists suggested that the Chiefs’ claim to the LVIII Super Bowl was rigged, with the sole intention of the NFL being to give Swift a platform at the game. This tournament is the Chiefs’ fourth appearance at the Super Bowl since 2020.
It’s one thing to be sad that your beloved team didn’t make the Super Bowl, but it’s another to deny the hard work of the Chiefs. At the same time, it’s one thing to be uninterested in Swift’s pop star status, but it’s another to reduce her success to a Department of Defense ploy.
These claims made about Swift have reached such a high level of popularity that the American Pentagon had to publicly reassert that Taylor Swift was not affiliated with any psychological operation to influence Americans’ votes.
The punch line of this story? Naturally, it’s to ask how any of this may have to do with us.
Primarily, we see an emphasis on just how important politics are becoming to everyone. Swift, whose debut album came out in 2006, sought to avoid politics for her entire career.
Despite successfully avoiding sharing her views for nearly a decade, the fervor of the 2016 presidential election, her immense popularity and speculation that her political silence suggested that she was conservative all essentially forced her to step into the world of politics.
No matter how much we try to avoid politics, it affects us in one way or another — big or small — today or in twenty years.
At the same time, the reverse is true. A person’s presence, whether they are a public figure or a part of a collective identity, can affect policy.
This can be seen when recent videos posted to X consisting of nonconsensual deep-fake videos of Taylor Swift in a sexual nature quickly spurred legislative proposals against the practice in Congress.
Furthermore, while we can laugh at the ridiculousness of any conspiracy, far-right or far-left, sometimes critiques aren’t entirely unwarranted.
For example, Swift’s immense political presence prompted Fox News to release a piece exposing Swift’s extremely high carbon emissions as a result of her private jet. While we can laugh that the infamous climate change deniers of Fox News admit to climate change in calling Swift out, we can’t forget that our idols are immensely fallible and should be susceptible to critique.
The election of 2024 is going to be the focal point of our nation for the next few months. Swift might not be a candidate, but she is going to play a central role in its outcome.
In the next few months, let’s both call out Swift’s mistakes and defend her to make sure conspiracy theorists see how karma won’t be a relaxing thought.