For football fans eager to see a new team in the Super Bowl, Sunday's conference championship games that sent the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers back to the marquee event of American sports culture were deeply disappointing. .
But one thing is new: Taylor Swift. And she is driving the movement behind crazy Donald Trump.
The criticism surrounding the world's biggest pop icon, and girlfriend of Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce, reached the stratosphere after Kansas City reached the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years, and the first time from Mrs. Swift. she joined the team's entourage.
The conspiracy theories emerging from the Make America Great Again contingent were already legion: that Ms. Swift is a secret Pentagon agent; that she is bolstering her base of supporters in preparation for her endorsement of President Biden's re-election; or that she and Mr. Kelce are an artificial couple, brought together to push the NFL or Covid vaccines or Democrats or whatever.
“I wonder who will win the Super Bowl next month,” Vivek Ramaswamy, the conspiratorial presidential candidate turned Trump surrogate, mused on social media on Monday. “And I wonder if this fall there will be a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally supported couple.”
Pro-Trump host Mike Crispi began Sunday by claiming that the National Football League is “rigged” to spread “Democratic propaganda”: “Calling it now: KC wins, goes to Super Bowl, Swift comes out on the halftime show and 'endorses' to Joe Biden with Kelce in midfield.”
Other Swift detractors among Trump's biggest fans include one of her lawyers, Alina Habba, one of her biggest conspiracy theorists, Jack Posobiec, and other MAGA luminaries such as Laura Loomer and Charlie Kirk, who runs a pro youth organization. -Trump. , Turning Point USA
The right has been furious with Swift since September, when she urged her fans on Instagram to register to vote, and the online site Vote.org reported an increase of 35,000 registrations in response. Swift had embarked on a world tour that helped her become a billionaire. Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, praised her as “profoundly powerful.” And then Time magazine named her Person of the Year in December, starting another round of MAGA outrage.
The love story that united his world with the NFL proved incendiary. Kelce's ads promoting Pfizer's Covid vaccine and Bud Light (already the target of right-wing outrage for a social media promotion featuring a transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney) added more fuel to that raging fire.
The Swift-Kelce story, for some, has dealt a blow to traditional gender norms, with a rich and powerful woman elevating a successful football player to a new level of fame.
Some of the criticism on Monday morning has been downright silly, including speculation that Swift is after Kelce for his money. (Her net worth exceeds $1 billion, a different universe than the athlete's merely wealthy status.)
Other accusations appear to be driven by fear and based on some truth, or at least his dominance over his 279 million Instagram followers: that he has enormous influence and has supported Democrats in the past. For much of her extensive music career, Swift avoided politics, but in 2018 she endorsed two Democrats in Tennessee, where she owns two homes: former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who ran for the Senate against then-Representative Marsha Blackburn, and Jim Cooper , a House member who has since retired.
“I have always and will always vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights that I believe we all deserve in this country,” he wrote on social media. “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG.”
He added: “I think the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, disgusting and prevalent.”
The alarm bells were loud enough to make Trump loudly endorse Blackburn: “I'm sure Taylor Swift doesn't know anything about her,” he said at the time, knowing full well how influential Ms. Swift could be . be. “Let's say I like Taylor's music about 25 percent less now, okay?”
He probably liked him even less in 2020 when he criticized his response to the pandemic and then endorsed Biden.
While their early pop music may have primarily appealed to teens and tweens, those fans have reached voting age and their music has become more sophisticated with the albums “Evermore” and “Folklore” to match their millennial roots and the taste of his fans.
Much of Swift's paranoia has lurked on the fringes of MAGA, with people like Loomer, the Florida conspiracy theorist who declared in December that “2024 will be MAGA vs Swifties” and Kirk, who declared in November that Swift would “come out to the presidential elections” after the Democrats obtained another good result in an election that showed that the issue of abortion motivated voters to go to the polls.
“All the Swifties want is a quick abortion,” he said.
Then attacks on Swift hit Fox News in mid-January. Host Jesse Watters suggested the superstar was a Department of Defense asset involved in psychological warfare. He linked Swift's political voice with her boyfriend's Pfizer endorsement to the notable success of her Eras de ella tour, which boosted local economies and landed her on the cover of Time.
“Have you ever wondered why or how it blew up like that?” Mister. Watters wondered on air. “Well, about four years ago, the Pentagon's psychological operations unit came out and made Taylor Swift an asset during a NATO meeting.”
Andrea Hailey, CEO of Vote.org, made the most of Fox News' criticism, saying the organization's partnership with Swift “is helping all Americans make their voices heard at the polls,” adding that the star “not a psychological operation or a Pentagon asset.”
But his appearance on the field with Kelce in Baltimore after the Chiefs beat the Ravens on Sunday, completes with a kiss and a hugappears to have caused a convulsion among conservatives that may only increase in the run-up to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on February 11.
Feelings are so strong that Fox News ran a segment on Sunday lamenting that Ms. Swift's private jet “belches tons of CO2 emissions,” showing a sudden awareness of the root cause of global warming.
Ramaswamy said his Super Bowl guess was very serious.
“What your people call 'conspiracy theories,' I simply call an amalgamation of collective incentives hiding in plain sight,” he said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre further fueled speculation by invoking the Hatch Act, which prohibits political actions by public officials, while refusing to answer whether Biden would appear with Swift.
“I'm going to leave it there,” he said Monday. “From here on I am not going to enter the president's agenda at all, as far as the 2024 elections are concerned.”
The Trump campaign, which had initially planned to ignore the frenzy, sent Karoline Leavitt, a campaign spokeswoman, to dismiss concerns about a possible Biden endorsement.
“I don't think this endorsement will save him from the calamity” of his record, he said.
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