Ireland Gorecki | ‘I Knew You Were Trouble,’ Travis Kelce. 

Is America’s favorite couple a threat to democracy?

Photo credit: Kathryn Riley / Getty Images

By Ireland Gorecki

I have loved Taylor Swift since long before the Eras Tour. She inspired me when I felt unmotivated, acted as a role model when I felt lost, and has even been the cure to some of my worst breakups. I love the drama of her romantic affairs, recording contracts, and the poetic beauty of her lyrical masterpieces. You’ll often find me blasting her discography as I walk to class, shifting between Speak Now and her country classics. 

While Taylor’s reputation as an artist is simultaneously hated and praised, her recent romance with Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end, Travis Kelce, has awarded her some intense criticism from Republicans and football fans alike due in part to its theorized potential to impact voter turnout and partisan voting habits. The Swift-Kelce effect is no longer limited to our fantasy football teams; it seems this “Mastermind” may be threatening democracy. 

Swift was notably apolitical until the 2018 midterm elections, when she vocally opposed Tennessee Republican senatorial candidate, Marsha Blackburn. Simultaneously, Swift’s contract with Big Machine Records expired, allowing her to sign with Republic Records where she owns her music outright. Since that time, Taylor has become ‘free’ from the public suppression of the music industry, which has allowed her to become more politically active and increase her album outreach to younger generations. She endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election and regularly expresses pro-LGBTQ+ and pro-choice agendas to her listeners. Moreover, the 12th track on her 2019 album, Lover, features the Chicks, a female band blacklisted from country music following their outrage against President George W. Bush in 2003. 

As the 2024 ballot shapes up to be another battle between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Swift’s influence will only increase its reach and persuasiveness, to listeners who are unsure about their voting choice, thanks to her relationship with Kelce. Taylor may not be changing party affiliations, but she certainly is motivating a new group of people to go out and cast ballots for Democrats.

Swift and Kelce have confirmed their relationship since September 2023, when the singer first attended a Kansas City Chiefs game. Since then, Taylor has become a game-day sensation in stadium suites and on TV screens. She’s become the poster child for the NFL—and soon Biden’s campaign—as she drives viewership among teenage girls up 53%. 

From an economic standpoint, this is good. The sport was beginning to reach saturation in game attendance following the pandemic. According to Fanatics, the NFL’s top retailer, sales of Kelce’s jersey surged nearly 400% on September 24, the first time Swift appeared at a Chiefs game.

It was a beautiful Sunday night when the Chiefs claimed the title of Super Bowl LVIII champions—yes, I’m a Chiefs fan, but not because of America’s sweetheart. Swift reunited with her boyfriend on the field—following his “ick” of a celebratory speech—and they embraced one another while sharing several celebratory, sweaty kisses. 

I do find it ironic how Taylor can stand wearing Chiefs gear as a Philly native, but I digress. 

As an avid college football fan, I’ve seen my fair share of plays that I’ve thought to be fabricated. After watching this decent matchup between the 49ers and the Chiefs, I couldn’t help but feel that something was off. It seemed almost obvious that this game was scripted. Even before the game began, conspiracy theories were brewing amongst sections of the far-right, suggesting that the NFL was conspiring to set up a win for the Chiefs in order to create a playbook in which Swift could endorse Biden’s candidature. However, while the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers, Swift has yet to declare support for any presidential candidate. 

Super Bowl Sunday took an ugly turn as soon as the US president posted a meme on his personal social media featuring himself with laser beams shooting from his eyes to mock the aforementioned conspiracies. The possessed-Biden photo captioned “just like we drew it up” minutes after the Chiefs won.

Biden’s post seems distasteful and unpresidential alongside others addressing Hamas’ devastating war on Israel. But, touché if it’s his attempt to garner attention from younger voters and compete with Trump’s abrasive online presence. 

Aside from any petty conspiracy theories, recently, Swift encouraged her fans to consider turning out to vote. Interestingly, tens of thousands of Swifties actually registered to vote. Now, we remember this All Too Well from 2020. If Taylor Swift is telling you to vote, wouldn’t you want to vote for the candidate Taylor is voting for? Would that be Joe Biden?

I’m all for Taylor using her platform to be vocal about politics—it’s a free country after all. But I have a serious moral issue with the idea that Taylor might be exploiting her relationship with Kelce to boost support for Biden among young male voters in particular. After all, the Super Bowl is the most-watched television program in America. It would certainly be helpful for an 81-year-old candidate to have the world’s most prominent pop star and her 300 million Instagram followers in his back pocket. 

However, let’s not forget Kelce’s public service announcements pushing the COVID vaccine. I won’t even get into his ad for Bud Light. Kelce has followed a stereotypically liberal trajectory in his media presence. It almost seems that Biden needs Kelce’s encouragement to appeal to male voters in order to hold a candle to Trump’s firepower. What are we supposed to make of Kelce’s potential effect on the political identity and choices of young men? 

For decades of American history, the gender gap in presidential voting has been a major electoral factor. Women are much more likely to vote for Democrats; men for Republicans

Masculinity dominates cultural politics and partisan affiliation. Major conservative media personalities mock liberal, progressive, and Democratic men as weak and unmasculine. Kelce has the potential to destigmatize them. 

The Swift-Kelce couple has the potential to manipulate people into voting differently than they would have otherwise. Is this election strategy destroying democracy? Or is democracy already ruined? Will Kelce, a traditionally successful man who supports liberal and progressive causes, provide some sort of “permission” for young men to vote blue?

Or as Taylor Swift might say to me, do we all just “need to calm down?”

Ireland Gorecki is a freshman in the College studying Biology and American Public Policy from Atlanta, GA. Ireland is also a photographer and staff writer for The Pennsylvania Post. Her email is

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *