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Taylor Swift could pick our next president. Are Americans and Swifties 'Ready For It?'

These are strange times, I'll admit, but saying Taylor Swift could not swing the outcome of the 2024 election if she was determined to do so is like saying, in 2015, that Donald Trump is a sideshow.

EJ Montini
Arizona Republic

When news broke Monday that Gannett – which owns USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic and many other newspapers and media outlets – hired a full-time reporter to cover singer songwriter Taylor Swift, I knew what might be coming to a lot of us who work for the company, although, to be honest, I needed Google to catch some of the references.

Like the reader who sent a note saying, “My condolences, Eddie boy, this must be a difficult day for you, losing out on your chance to land the Taylor Swift gig, something for which a columnist who sings the same old tune over and over again might have been marginally qualified. I hope you 'got bad blood.’”

Or this one from a self-described “Swiftie” who wrote, “I’m sure you’re disappointed that you weren’t asked to take the Taylor Swift assignment, Mr. Montini. You may have thought you were 'ready for it,' but you will ‘never, ever, ever get …’ that job.”

There were more. I made jokes about it myself.

"Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" concert movie premieres on Oct. 11, 2023, in Los Angeles.

Remember how the media underestimated Trump as a 'sideshow' in 2016?

The thing is, however, the backlash to the hiring of a journalistic James Boswell to shadow Taylor Swift reminds me of the reaction a lot of journalists had when Donald Trump entered the presidential race in 2015.

For example, the online HuffPost wrote at the time: “Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.”

And its editors were right. Trump’s campaign was (and still is) a freakish variation on a campy reality show. But the other Republican candidates would have died for its ratings.

And in 2023, they still would.

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Politicians in both parties bow to Swifties

Taylor Swift is much more talented, much more sophisticated and has as much of a societal force.

Maybe more so.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 15: Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift arrive at SNL Afterparty on October 15, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

The day after she sat next to the mother of Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce at a football game in September, Kelce’s jersey sales shot up 400%.

The game was the most watched NFL game that weekend, and the female audience in every age group rose significantly.

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Last year, after there was a botched presale of tickets to Swift’s tour, the outrage by her fans led to a hearing in the U.S. Senate, where Republicans and Democrats praised her and her followers.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said, “I think Swifties have figured something out, they’re very good at getting their message across.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., added, “Taylor Swift fans sure caught on. I will get whatever allies I have to take on this case."

Taylor Swift could make or break a campaign

And who are those fans?

A survey this year by Morning Consult said 53% of American adults are Swift devotees. There are almost as many men as women, almost as many Republicans and independents as Democrats. And they include baby boomers, millennials, Gen Xers and young adults from Gen Z.

In other words, a constituency that could make or break a national political campaign.

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Think about it. Nearly every news operation in the United States (and the world) expended a wildly inordinate amount of resources to provide ongoing daily coverage of Swift’s flirtation with a tight end.

Imagine what we’d do – and what the Swifties would do – if she publicly and wholeheartedly endorsed a presidential candidate.

These are strange times, I’ll admit, but saying Taylor Swift could not swing the outcome of the presidential election if she was determined to do so is like saying in 2015 that Donald Trump is a sideshow.

Call me crazy, but as the song says, “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.

“I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake … I shake it off.”

EJ Montini

EJ Montini is a columnist at The Arizona Republic/, where this column first published. Reach Montini at

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