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MAGAworld May Be Risking a Backlash by Attacking Taylor Swift

Last week we noted Republicans are going nuts about Taylor Swift and her new squeeze, football player Travis Kelce. They are worried the couple may announce their engagement and support for Joe Biden at the Super Bowl, with the entire country watching. Consequently, MAGAworld is starting to attack Swift (and, to a lesser extent, Kelce, which is trickier because many Republicans like football).

But attacks on Swift could backfire spectacularly. Kaivan Shroff, press secretary of the Gen-Z progressive group Dream for America said: "Waging a war on Taylor Swift is certainly not a way to win over the young voters and women that they've been hemorrhaging because of their stance on so many issues and the people, the abusive men that they've elevated into positions of power."

He has a point. A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed that 58% of women support Biden. Swift's fans skew heavily female and having Trump or other Republicans attack her would not go over well. Also, more than half her fan base consists of Gen-Z adults and Millennials, with lots of overlap. In other words, having an old (white) man attacking young women (many of whom are not white) could infuriate Swift's fans and get them to register and vote against him. Charlie Kirk, a conservative activist, sees what could happen. He said: "That will be a tsunami that will be very difficult to thwart."

How much influence Swift has could depend on how she handles it. A fall 2023 survey of 18-to-29 year-olds showed that they would be more likely to vote if they "received a personalized phone call or text message from Taylor Swift encouraging you to vote." A new poll from Newsweek this week found that 18% of voters are more likely to vote for a Swift-backed candidate. If Swift wanted to, she could make a recording urging her fans to register and vote for Biden. Then the campaign could use it in robocalls to women and young voters.

Republicans are struggling to attract young voters and if they go on attacking Swift, it is only going to make the struggle harder. It is not clear how much influence she has, but in close elections, even a modest amount could matter. If she wanted to, she could make appearances in swing states urging people to vote. Even if she didn't specifically endorse anyone at such appearances, just getting more young women to vote de facto helps Biden and the Democrats. (V)

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