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Monday, June 24, 2024

Swifties to the polls? Why eyes are on Taylor ahead of 2024

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As Joe Biden’s poll numbers flag ahead of next year’s election, it might seem obvious for the president to look to the pop-star billionaire who endorsed him in 2020, and whose every move is endlessly cataloged by US media.

It’s a fact his campaign knows all too well.

“Please do not tell us that we need a Taylor Swift strategy. We are tracking,” quipped a recent communications job advertisement for his 2024 reelection bid.

And yet, in the highly polarized US political and media landscape, everything the superstar singer does or doesn’t do is likely to invite a simultaneous deluge of praise and firestorm of fierce criticism.

Swift, recently named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, is viewed favorably by 70 percent of Americans – the sort of numbers that any president would kill for.

Perhaps none more than Biden, whose approval ratings recently dipped to 39 percent – the lowest of any recent US leader at this point in their presidency, according to polling firm Gallup, and also the fifth time his ratings fell below 40 percent in this year alone.

Swift’s 2020 endorsement of Biden, and her knack for using nonpartisan campaigns to register her “Swiftie” superfans to vote, doesn’t mean that politics comes without scrutiny for the superstar.

Amidst America’s hyperpartisanship, the once apolitical “You Belong With Me” singer faced criticism for her evolving stance. Despite initial reluctance, she broke her silence during the 2016 election, expressing personal unease. 

In a 2020 documentary, she defied team advice to stay apolitical for fear of tour attendance decline.

Swift eventually endorsed a Democratic Senate candidate in Tennessee, contrary to the Trump-backed Republican’s victory. Amidst Trump’s divisive presidency, she criticized him for fueling “white supremacy and racism” when endorsing Biden.

Notably, Swift’s profile skyrocketed amid record-breaking music achievements and heightened public scrutiny of her personal life.

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