A couple, not a conspiracy | WORLD
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A couple, not a conspiracy

A weird story about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, promoted by unserious people, distracts attention from real threats

Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift celebrate after the Chiefs victory in Baltimore on Sunday. Associated Press/Photo by Julio Cortez

A couple, not a conspiracy
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In 2016, Jack Posobiec was one of many alt-right activists who pushed the “Pizzagate” conspiracy that claimed Democrat politicians frequented a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., and engaged in human trafficking. A North Carolina man became so concerned about the conspiracy, he traveled to the pizza restaurant and fired his rifle inside the restaurant. Fast forward to 2024 and Posobiec, a frequent Turning Point USA speaker, is pushing the Swift-Kelce conspiracy theory. Some on the right have chosen to platform deeply unserious people during seriously dangerous times.

For those who are, thankfully, unfamiliar with the latest conspiracy, prepare yourselves. The theory posits that Taylor Swift and her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, are in a manufactured relationship designed to get media attention so they can propel Joe Biden to victory in November with an endorsement. “I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month,” Vivek Ramaswamy wrote on social media on Monday. “And I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall.”

A central part of the conspiracy theory is that the NFL, which the conspiracists said was irrelevant after Colin Kaepernick bent his knee, is now both super relevant and highly scripted, just like wrestling. They argue that Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, scripts the games and outcomes. Bringing Taylor Swift in to date Travis Kelce is just a prewritten plot twist all leading to a Joe Biden endorsement at the Super Bowl.

Importantly, the people who have elevated this theory most likely do not believe it. Those who push it, including Ramaswamy, are unserious people who are chasing online attention. Fame online is measured by topics trending on X, Google trends, clicks, traffic, and cash. They hope you might believe their theory because that keeps the story going with more traffic and clout for them. They then can sell themselves to donors and political campaigns. Many of them are self-styled social media consultants who can use the topic to build a book of business. Others, like Ramaswamy, stay in the conversation instead of falling out of it.

If these men (and it is mostly young men) successfully push this theory, they could alienate a host of undecided voters who like football and Taylor Swift.

Being unserious people devoted to their own clout, fame, and fortune, these people have latched on to Donald Trump not because they support him, but because Donald Trump brings them traffic. They get to be on stage, like Posobiec and several other Swift-Kelce conspiracists, at Turning Point USA conferences and other right-wing events. They get to have pictures taken at Mar-a-Lago and claim insider status. Being nihilists, they do not care that they would align Trump and his supporters against the most popular woman on the planet and the best tight end in the most popular sport in America. Ironically, only six weeks ago, many of them claimed that Taylor Swift was distracting Travis Kelce to harm the Chiefs.

If these men (and it is mostly young men) successfully push this theory, they could alienate a host of undecided voters who like football and Taylor Swift and are ambivalent against Donald Trump. Then, when it is all over and Trump has lost, they can declare some level of prophetic knowledge that they called it, so please subscribe, like, click, tweet, and send money.

On the day they elevated this conspiracy theory, the left-wing Daily Beast exposed anti-Semitic door alarm activator and Rep. Jamaal Bowman as a 9/11 Truther, despite representing New York. Concurrently, the Justice Department revealed it is investigating Missouri Rep. Cori Bush for misuse of taxpayer funds. Additionally, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demanded the United States continue funding The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) even after The Wall Street Journal reported 1,200 UNRWA employees are tied to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Ocasio-Cortez wants to fund the terrorists while defunding American police. All three of these members of Congress are part of the so-called “Squad” of progressives in the House. Instead of focusing on those elected officials, the border deal, or President Biden’s failures in dealing with Iran, the unserious right-wing hucksters steered right-wing attention to Swift and Kelce.

We are catechized by those with whom we surround ourselves. The right is increasingly surrounded with unserious people who live their lives too deeply online. We all could perhaps use to touch grass more often instead of our keyboards and phones. But the right would be wise to turn off, unfollow, and ignore the unserious conspiracists who would distract us with frivolousness all so they can cash in while the world around them burns.

Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson is a lawyer by training, has been a political campaign manager and consultant, helped start one of the premiere grassroots conservative websites in the world, served as a political contributor for CNN and Fox News, and hosts the Erick Erickson Show broadcast nationwide.

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