Trump can’t shake off Taylor Swift talk in courting young voters

Former President Trump just can’t shake off talk of Taylor Swift.

From questioning her past support for President Biden, to commenting on her appearance, to gabbing about the mega-star during a meeting with House Republicans, for the 45th president, Swift appears to be a subject Trump knows “All Too Well.”

Last week, during a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, Trump questioned a potential Swift endorsement of Biden and her support of the president during the 2020 election, according to a lawmaker in the room. “You can tell he’s been giving it some thought,” the lawmaker said.

Trump is “absolutely fixated” on Swift, author Ramin Setoodeh said, because he views fame as “one of the most valuable currencies in life.”

“And so Taylor Swift being one of the most famous people on the planet, and not endorsing him, is something that really matters to him,” said Setoodeh, author of “Apprentice in Wonderland: How Donald Trump and Mark Burnett Took America Through the Looking Glass,” released this week.

Setoodeh, the co-editor-in-chief of Variety, interviewed Trump for his book and pressed the former president about the “Shake it Off” singer.

As he detailed in his book, when asked about the superstar, Trump called her “unusually beautiful” and said, “I think she’s liberal. She probably doesn’t like Trump.”

“But she is liberal, or is that just an act?” he asked Setoodeh.

Trump, Setoodeh said, “planted the idea that maybe Taylor Swift secretly likes him because I think it’s too hard for Donald Trump to accept the fact that someone who is so famous and has such a huge platform would not support his candidacy.”

But political experts say Trump’s constant harping on the singing sensation could also point to a bigger issue for both him and Biden: courting young voters.

“The idea is to get [young voters] excited about the election. Will Taylor Swift add a little juice to turnout? I think that’s entirely possible,” said Dan Shea, a professor of government at Colby College in Maine and co-author of the book, “The Rural Voter: The Politics of Place and the Disuniting of America.”

“We’re talking about a very tight election. We’re talking about at the margins. Can Taylor Swift help mobilize voters and non-voters in some key states? Maybe. I don’t think that’s out of the realm,” Shea said of the pop superstar’s Election Day impact.

“Young voters are behind Biden by a large margin. But it may not be as large as it was four years ago, and I do think there’s an enthusiasm issue,” Shea said of Biden’s support among the under-30 crowd, citing concerns about the environment, abortion access, inflation and a “deep anxiety” about housing costs.

“I think even Donald Trump knows the value of an endorsement from Taylor Swift,” Setoodeh said.

Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton expressed uncertainty about the reason behind the ex-commander in chief’s many Swift mentions but said that “there’s nothing mathematically that suggests [Trump] has anything to be worried about.”

“In 2020, Swift collaborated with to encourage voter registration among young people through her Instagram, where she has 272 million followers,” Singleton said.

“From these followers, registered 35,000 people — a mere 0.0129 percent of her total followers. If that’s political influence, there’s nothing to be worried about,” the political consultant added.

The Biden camp has strategized ways in the past to land Swift’s coveted endorsement, with campaign aides telling The Hill she’s the one celebrity supporter they desperately want.

But Santiago Mayer, the executive director of Voters of Tomorrow, said its left-leaning organization isn’t “banking” on the public backing from Swift.

“Our youth strategy does not depend on any individuals,” said Mayer, a self-described Swiftie.

“I don’t think the vast majority of people are going to vote because Swift told them to. To the extent that she can use her platform … it’s an incredible megaphone,” he said.

While GOP strategist Doug Heye acknowledged that Swift’s endorsement with young voters is invaluable, he said, “I’m also under no illusion that this is going to be a massive swayer of votes.”

Trump’s frequent mentions of the Grammy Award winner are likely an effort to “keep Taylor Swift’s support for Biden to a minimum,” Colby College’s Shea said.

“She’ll probably endorse Biden again. But will she also push voters to go out to the polls? Will she do it in a very aggressive way or will it be muted? I think Donald Trump’s very pragmatic. He’ll do what needs to be done with Taylor Swift to try to keep that effort to a minimum,” Shea said.

Setoodeh said he wouldn’t exactly hold his breath waiting for Trump to snag a surprise endorsement from Swift.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think that if anyone knows Taylor Swift, they know that she’s not going to be endorsing Donald Trump.”

Mayer theorized that there could be another factor at play with Trump’s Swift chatter: He feels threatened by the 34-year-old music phenomenon.

“She’s a powerful woman and there’s one thing he’s terrified of is a powerful woman. To an extent I think he’s upset that he doesn’t have the culture behind him. The fact that he can’t compete and it really does speak to how relevant he is and what his agenda is with young people,” Mayer said.

Heye put it this way about Trump’s recent Swift-related remarks: “Haters gonna hate. Trump’s gonna Trump.”

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