Enough with the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce conspiracy BS

The online world’s capacity for wild, untamed nonsense is endless. If we’re being honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that this is the reason we keep coming back to the old social-media watering hole, despite its regular and casual carnage — you never know when the next pack of ravening hyenas will go tearing off after a random gazelle. And the chase is on yet again, this time with the Trumpist Right jackaling off in pursuit of none other than Taylor Swift. You see, pop megastar Taylor Swift — known Democrat — is dating NFL tight end Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, who are headed to the Super Bowl after yesterday’s victory against the Baltimore Ravens. (I’m sorry to have to be the first person to tell you all of this.)

Surely some sinister political mischief is afoot. Publicity-hungry pop stars and handsome athletes with reality-TV-show experience don’t just go hooking up like that, now do they? One necessarily wonders which shadowy puppet master is really pulling the strings here. So America’s foremost former junior intelligence officer, Pizzagater, and MAGA-branded influencer Jack Posobiec was on the case yesterday afternoon, as the Ravens were frittering away opportunity after opportunity: “Thinking about when Taylor Swift called out the Soros family in 2019 for buying the rights to her music and then how she came out a super liberal in 2020.” (This refers to a far-right conspiracy theory I’m embarrassed to admit exists, holding that Taylor Swift made a secret deal with George Soros to get the rights to her music back in return for becoming a Democratic partisan.)

Well, it’s just one nut case, I guess, right? Wrong! Because former presidential candidate and current aspiring online influencer Vivek Ramaswamy — apparently looking for something to do or say when not pilot-fishing for Donald Trump — immediately chimed in to agree with Posobiec, adding, “I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month. 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.”

Ramaswamy, always too self-impressedly clever by half, understands well the coy game he is playing here (his wording gives it away). For the Kansas City Chiefs have an excellent chance of winning the Super Bowl in two weeks, as they have already done twice in three previous appearances since 2019. Furthermore, it is extremely likely that Taylor Swift will endorse Joe Biden in 2024. (How do I know? Because she already endorsed Joe Biden back in 2020, and Donald Trump has not become any more appealing since then for Taylor Swift or the legions of young single women who comprise her audience.) The sleight of hand here is that Ramaswamy wants to suggest — without saying it explicitly, for deniability’s sake — that these two factors are connected. Without ever spelling it out, they want to seed the idea that — I’m not sure how this plot works in detail, I’d need a flowchart — the NFL is collaborating with Taylor Swift, who is herself taking orders from George Soros to aid the Joe Biden administration. I suppose I understand why they talk around it: When you do spell it out like that, it sounds incredibly stupid.

I have no doubt that were you to press people like Ramaswamy or Posobiec to the point of putting them under oath, they would say that they were “just kidding.” Both are notably amoral in their propensity for the grift, after all: Wherever there is money to be made or attention to be paid, hungry Trumpist influencers gather to feed, treating their performances as akin to wrestling kayfabe — giving the people what they want — rather than any expression of personal principle. But of course legions of online MAGA/Trump-affiliated people have taken to repeating this theory in all seriousness, as it accords with their deeply paranoid style, and their obsessive devotion to it (as well as the broader hatred for Swift among the Trumpist faction) betrays something far more noteworthy: genuine fear.

The current yowls online about Swift and Kelce “infecting” the NFL and the musing about it being a conspiracy to help Democrats in the fall are, in reality, thinly veiled bleats of fear about Trump’s standing with women — young women, white women, educated women, pretty much all women except your 85-year-old nana — and how Swift has become in many ways their cultural avatar. She is seemingly omnipresent in our media (as someone mostly unimpressed with her music, this can admittedly become deadening), and it’s impossible not to notice that Trump’s most voluble partisans — so typically full of bravado — fear her massive cultural clout being turned against him; they talk about Swift the way H. P. Lovecraft wrote about The Old Ones. One suspects that they, as the deeply committed thralls of an all-consuming personality cult, instinctively recognize a person who (in their minds, at least) commands similarly reflexive loyalties from her millions of fans — and fear that sort of power being used as a counterforce against them. They worship a hero, so they assume everyone else does — and that for many of them, Taylor is that hero. (It’s a bizarrely crabbed account of the human psyche based entirely on projection, but then you can’t expect these people to have the solidest grasp on how people outside their bubble think and live.) Hence the conspiratorializing about how the NFL is “helping to raise Taylor Swift’s profile” — as if Taylor Swift was not already the single most famous woman on planet Earth — to a position that eventually will be used to help reelect Joe Biden.

As an example of paranoid error, this “Swift/Kelce is an NFL/Democratic psyop” conspiracy theory is amusing enough; what makes me laugh about it all, however, is how illusory the Trumpist Right’s fears are. As I said above, Swift probably will endorse Joe Biden in the near future. (Biden’s campaign is certainly eager for it, as the New York Times helpfully pointed out in a piece this morning that has naturally only fanned the conspiratorial flames online even more.) Young single women probably will support Democrats en masse this November, as they have since before I was born. And it is entirely possible they will support Biden in greater numbers than in 2020.

But if they do, it won’t be because of anything Taylor Swift said or did, just as it wasn’t in 2020. (Taylor Swift is a well-liked pop star; she is not a hypnotist or Rasputin.) It will be because Donald Trump’s past acts and present comportment are repulsive to the sensibilities of these voters — the $83,000,000 damage award for E. Jean Carroll is going to kill him here, like it or not — and have been for two cycles now. The hatred that Trump’s most vocal “outside” supporters have for the Swift phenomenon is a ghost of their own unsettled consciences, a twinge reaction to the realization that Trump is going to bleed these voters out. Perhaps it will comfort them to blame Taylor, rather than their own man’s behavior.

In truth, much about the extremely public relationship between Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce feels a bit too artificially sculpted to take at face value, a carefully curated presentation of two celebrities from different worlds “crossing the streams” in the social-media era. We’ve lived through too many reality TV–like celebrity marriages and relationships in the 21st century to be wholly naïve about such things anymore. (Or perhaps, equally as likely, we refuse to believe that the rich and famous can also have their own quotidian desires and personal agency, like all others do.) But whether this is a tabloid imposture or not — I prefer to root for true love because hey, I’m the guy who likes Hugh Grant romantic comedies — I can guarantee you one thing: It is not a devilish political psyop coordinated between Joe Biden and the NFL, for the love of God.

Taylor Swift is the most organic cultural force you could possibly name. She has millions upon millions of fans built up over a very long and successful career, culminating in a tour that dominated the US (and other countries) last year. The fact that she is currently on the covers of magazines is also an organic reaction to her organic success. Magazine publishers know that having her face on the cover will sell magazines precisely because she has millions of rabid fans who can’t get enough of her. The media didn’t make Taylor a success, they are trying to ride the coattails of her success. Magazines put the Beatles on their cover back in the 1960s. That’s just how this works.

And who knows, Joe Biden or someone in his White House is probably trying to ride Taylor Swift’s coattails just like all those magazines. I’m sure they would give anything for a public endorsement or even a meeting between her and Biden which would be reported around the world. But if that happens it won’t be because hapless, barely coherent Joe Biden put the entire media manipulation plan in motion months ago. We’re not living in Panem and the NFL is not the Hunger Games. If an endorsement happens, it will be because Taylor Swift has a massive organic fanbase that’s useful to the White House and also because she’s personally a bit left-leaning. That’s the secret.

Taking these obvious and organic situations and framing them as some kind of cynical master-plan by the elite is not a sign you’re smart. It’s a sign you’re trying to appeal to a certain strain of very online person who uses the word “psyop” a lot. And the thing is, Vivek really is smart and clearly can do better than this if he wants to but I guess he’s figured out that the people he’s trying to appeal to really like this nonsense and for whatever reason he’s decided to play along with their stupid game rather than refuse to embarrass himself.

Is this where we are now? Has the “psyop” right decide that a) the NFL and b) a heterosexual relationship between a jock and a pretty blonde are now the secret tools of the devil? If so it can’t be long before mom and apple pie are also revealed to be part of the psyop.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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