Taylor Swift Democrats: Conservatives are losing the “don’t be weirdos” contest, by Richard Hanania.
We can understand Taylor Swift Democrats as men and women comfortable with their birth sex, eager to play the roles traditionally assigned to it, not racist but not feeling particularly guilty about the sins of their country, and who will naturally gravitate towards whichever political coalition comes across as the most normal, willing to let them go about their lives watching football or buying makeup from Sephora. People like this used to be natural conservatives, and especially given the Great Awokening, they still should today. They’re not, mostly because Republicans were able to overturn Roe and went out and created a cult of personality around perhaps the least normal politician the country has ever had.
This article is a great midwit filter because a lot of people missed the meaning. In the comments on Twitter, many objected that “Taylor Swift fans will not vote or will vote democratic,” or that “Celebrities overwhelmingly endorse democrats, like Clinton or Obama.” Both of these are true, but that was not the point of his article. His point is that the GOP risks alienating normies–those who enjoy Taylor Swift music, football, and are cis-gendered–by catering to so-called fringe conspiracies and being unyielding on the abortion issue. Normies look at the left and see the weirdness, but also see that the right is equally bad or worse, so default to the safe or least-weird option, that being the left.
So according to Hanania, the right risks losing a lot of potential voters by alienating these normal people. Is his diagnosis correct? Time will tell. If Trump wins in 2024 and Republicans pick up more seats, then I guess that answers it. Picking up normies can make a difference at the margins. At the same time, there is little distinction between the fringe and the base. Trump is popular for all the reasons the media insists he’s awful. As was evident in 2016, Trump’s success is in the Electoral College math, by appealing disproportionately to rural or suburban voters in swing states who have a negative outlook about America and see Trump as a sort of savior or messianic figure who speaks in their language, or as the embodiment of the ultimate “FU” to the status quo. Strategically, perhaps it’s better to target a fringe that has a near-100% turnout in the states where turnout matters most, than a broader coalition in states that are more lopsided and have a lower turnout. This is different compared to state-level elections in which moderates may do better.