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MAGA Has TDS—Taylor Derangement Syndrome

Where trolling, paranoia, and delusion come together.
January 31, 2024
MAGA Has TDS—Taylor Derangement Syndrome
Taylor Swift attends the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton on January 07, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Something about the Kansas City Chiefs making it to the Super Bowl has destabilized MAGA. Or maybe it was Taylor Swift’s first appearance at a Chiefs game last fall. Or maybe it was her being named Time’s Person of the Year in December. Or all of it combined.

Addled Trumpers are sounding the alarm. They’re not just warning that Swift is out to brainwash America’s youth into liberalism or theorizing that she and Travis Kelce are in a fake relationship. Now they’re telling us that the Super Bowl is going to be fixed. Got that? Just as in Donald Trump’s Big Lie, evildoers are conspiring against Trump and his supporters—but this time they are going to steal a football game instead of a presidential election.

Let’s start with failed GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, one of many who have been floating this lunacy. Here’s his Monday-morning tweet:

Mike Crispi, a failed congressional candidate who hosts a podcast in the fever swamps, has gotten more than a million views on this Sunday-evening tweet:

You see, our ineffective, dysfunctional government is going to fix the Super Bowl so that it will mean more when Swift and Kelce get engaged, which will then make it mean more when they endorse Biden.

Or something.

It’s not like the Chiefs haven’t played in three of the last four Super Bowls, or beaten the 49ers before, or beaten the 49ers at the Super Bowl. Remember 2020? Trump was even president when that happened, yet that game—including the six passes that Kelce caught for 43 yards—was surely the work of deep-state globalists.

And the New York Times reported Monday that the Biden campaign may try and get Biden to an Eras Tour concert later this year, so that confirms a Chiefs victory for sure.

Ramaswamy was responding to a tweet from Pizzagate promoter Jack Posobiec, who recalled that Swift “called out the Soros family in 2019 for buying the rights to her music” and then “came out a super liberal in 2020.” He lamented that Kanye West “tried to warn us about the Taylor Swift psyop and we didn’t listen.”

The animosity and false accusations MAGA is hurling at Swift must be unrelated to the fact that Swift is a boss who sits atop an empire and rewrote the rules of the music industry, has more number-one albums than any female artist in history, has won twelve Grammy awards, and her Eras Tour is grossing more than any concert tour in history.

And it must have nothing to do with the fact that the Eras Tour, which could ultimately produce nearly $5 billion in economic activity, may have been responsible for the United States averting a recession.

The right must be mad about Swift helping the woke NFL by growing ratings for games, likely bringing millions of little girls to the television to start following football with their dads, and increasing the sale of Kelce jerseys by 400 percent after attending a single game.

Yes, that is awful.

MAGA also seems to loathe the Swift-Kelce romance and all its on-camera joy. The post-AFC championship game kisses sent the online right over the edge. And Kelce is as loathsome on the right as Swift.

Kelce is considered one of the best tight ends in football history and has won two Super Bowls with the Chiefs, but he is a Bad Person in the MAGAverse. He made Pfizer-sponsored advertisements encouraging COVID vaccination. He starred in a Bud Light ad.

Posobiec, commenting on a video of Kelce, wrote: “Kelce is as trash as his regime-appointed girlfriend. What a beta.” But it’s not just Swift and Kelce he has groused about—he’s also has deep thoughts about Swift and . . . Barbie: “These are mascots for the establishment. High level ops used as info warfare tools of statecraft for the regime.”

This is, of course, saying the misogynistic part out loud. But women in the Trumpverse back it up. Roseanne Barr said (to Posobiec) that Swift has “consented to being a mouthpiece for the establishment.” Laura Loomer agrees, but with even more conspiracy-theory jargon:

So MAGA is working to discredit Swift within its ranks. A couple of weeks ago Jesse Watters warned the Fox News audience that Swift might be a “Pentagon asset” or “a front for a covert political agenda.”


That sort of thing will scare some Fox-watching grandmas about their granddaughters’ music taste, but it sure won’t convince Swifties the singer is a pawn in a nefarious plot.

Indeed, Swift doesn’t tweet about Trump, talk about Trump, hit fundraisers or hang out at the White House. Besides her endorsement of a Democratic challenger to Sen. Marsha Blackburn in 2018, and of Biden in 2020, she has largely kept politics on the down-low. Still, MAGA types will do anything to read sinister meaning into those minimal and mainstream political endorsements. Chaya Raichik, the creator of the right-wing “Libs of TikTok” account, tweeted out the classic conspiracy-theorist line “Are you paying attention?” along a charming 2020 picture of Swift holding a batch of cookies with “Biden-Harris 2020” written in the frosting:

What has MAGA filling up its diapers is the idea of Swift—with her combined 450 million followers on X, Instagram, and Facebook—leaning into the 2024 election in ways she has not approached politics in the past.

Last September 19, on National Voter Registration Day, Swift posted on Instagram and reportedly helped register 35,000 new voters in one day, a 25 percent increase from the same day the year before and a 115 percent spike in 18-year-olds registering.

MAGA is all too familiar with what a cult following can do. Swifties won’t storm the Capitol and assault police officers, but some of them could be talked into other crazy stuff—like voting for Joe Biden.

The next two weeks will be busy for the online right, and on Super Bowl Sunday many of them will melt down. Swift reportedly plans to be in Las Vegas to cheer on Kelce after concerts in Tokyo from February 7 to 10. She will have to cross the International Date Line during her more than eleven-hour flight over the Pacific Ocean to gain a day in the air and make it to kickoff on February 11. Be prepared for Trumpers to see videos of her in both places and, after hearing about George Soros and Jewish space lasers, they will be convinced the Swift who shows at the game is a body double, or the one singing at the concert is a hologram, and that both are pedophiles.

It’s going to be awesome.

A.B. Stoddard

A.B. Stoddard is a columnist at The Bulwark. Previously, she was associate editor and columnist at RealClearPolitics.