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Swift warned against further shows of public support for President Biden

Swift's fame is vast at the moment, but a PR expert has warned her to beware politics
US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift on stage at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai - Zhang Hengwei/China News Service

Taylor Swift will be vilified by millions of Americans and risk her own safety if she endorses Joe Biden in the 2024 election, a top talent agent has warned.

The Love Story singer’s fame has reached dizzying heights in the months since she began dating Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce, with pictures of their pitch-side kiss reverberating around the world last month.

In the build up to tomorrow’s Super Bowl there has been more discussion about how Swift, 34, will have had to cross nine time-zones after her Saturday night show in Tokyo to make it to Las Vegas in time for kick-off, than there has been about the rival teams’ quarterbacks.

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are the biggest names in showbiz right now and the Democrats are keen to get her support
Travis Kelce walks with Taylor Swift following the AFC Championship NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs - Julio Cortez/AP

Meanwhile, the Democrats are understood to be hoping to capitalise on Swift’s unparalleled pull by pressing her to endorse President Biden in this year’s election.

‘My advice would be... keep away from politics’

While it is not out of the realms of possibility (Swift endorsed Mr Biden and Kamala Harris in 2020 and appeared to regret not vocalising her disdain for Donald Trump in 2016), Prof Jonathan Shalit has warned of the risks she faces by inserting herself into politics at such a “polarising” time.

“My advice to any singer or entertainer would be to keep away from politics,” he said.

“For someone to endorse a politician at the moment, it’s very, very complex, probably more complex than it’s ever been.

“And the reason I say that is a reflection of how complicated global affairs are right now,” he said, before making reference to the ongoing wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Dr Georgia Carroll, a Swiftie who wrote her PhD on the singer’s fan base, also warned a Biden endorsement could risk the wrath of some of her supporters because of how strongly they oppose his backing of Israel.

“I think there is a potential risk there that if she comes out to support, people will call her out for that,” she said.

As well as falling afoul of some of her followers, Swift’s endorsement could physically put the star at risk, Mr Shalit, chairman of InterTalent Rights Group, warned.

This is just the kind of open partisanship that may have a negative effect on Swift's fame, warns Professor Jonathan Shalit
Taylor Swift with a batch of freshly baked cookies in support of Joe Biden's push for the presidency four years ago

Holy war against the star

Amid speculation of her impending support for Mr Biden, Mr Trump’s allies were said to be plotting a “holy war” against the star.

It sparked right-wing conspiracy theories including claims Swift is a secret Pentagon agent and her relationship with Mr Kelce has been fabricated to bolster Mr Biden.

If she wades into the politics ahead of this year’s election she will be “vilified by a massive number of people in a way she’s never experienced”, Mr Shalit said.

“I also think that she does get involved, she also adds personal risk to herself… because there are a lot of extremists out there,” he said, adding that those she goes against may “try and do nasty, unpleasant things to her”.

Swift has not previously been put off voicing her opinion by the potential fallout.

In her Netflix documentary Miss Americana, footage showed Swift being warned that people may think she was condemning the then-president by coming out in support of a Democratic candidate for the Senate in Tennessee 2018.

“I don’t care if they write that,” she responded. “I’m sad I didn’t say it two years ago.”

But even if she ignores the potential pitfalls, it’s not clear whether Swift’s support would have the power to swing the pendulum in Mr Biden’s favour.

Swift does hold political sway over her fans

Swift, who has 279 million followers on Instagram, has previously shown that she does hold political sway over her supporters.

Last September, her call for fans to register to vote resulted in more than 35,000 sign-ups, according to the non-partisan charity Vote.org.

And while studies of the 2008 Democratic presidential primary credit Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama with bagging him roughly one million additional votes, helping him claim victory over his opponent, Hillary Clinton, this sort of celebrity-fuelled bump has, so far, not been recorded in a general election.

Her Democratic leanings are certainly well known among the general public
Joe Biden is aware of the kind of sway Taylor Swift has over young people

“The evidence indicates that endorsements have no discernible effect,” says John Mark Hansen, a political science professor at the University of Chicago.

“The only story you could tell about Taylor Swift is that it might sway a few younger voters who don’t have established partisan leanings yet but I wouldn’t want to bet much on that proposition.”

As millions of Americans prepare to tune into the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers game tomorrow, a significant slice of the audience will be watching to catch a glimpse of their hero embracing her sports star sweetheart.

Whether Swift will help turn those eyeballs into votes for Mr Biden remains to be seen.