Salvo 03.07.2024 10 minutes

Swiftian Normality and the Freak Right

Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour – Singapore

What they are and why they matter.

Like many normies, I have been captivated by the meteoric rise of college basketball phenom Caitlin Clark, who recently broke the all-time NCAA women’s scoring record in spectacular fashion, and will seek to lead her Iowa Hawkeyes to tournament greatness come March Madness.

Clark is every conservative’s dream athlete. She is an openly Catholic woman from suburban Iowa who credits her religious faith, education, and family for her success. She models the Christian virtues of humility, kindness, and charity both on and off the court. She is also aggressively apolitical, refusing to be drawn into every contrived “nontroversy” the left-wing media attempt to involve her in. She responds to her detractors with grace. When asked what she wants her legacy to be, Clark began crying and said inspiring children to follow their dreams while bringing Iowans “a lot of joy.”

Best of all, however, Clark is an unrepentant “Swiftie” whose admiration for the musical stylings of Pennsylvania native Taylor Swift has helped turn her into a heroine for millions of girls and young women across Middle America. Every gameday, thousands of them make the (expensive) journey courtside, hoping to gift Clark a Swift-inspired friendship bracelet and snap a picture to “show dad”—i.e., the heroic conservative man who bankrolled it all.

There is a reason for this convergence between Clark and Swift, beyond temporal coincidence. Clark came of age listening to Swift during her own meteoric rise and has been wearing the jersey number “22” ever since first suiting up for Dowling Catholic High School, in likely reference to Swift’s early pop country hit of the same name (Clark just turned 22 herself this January). But there is more to it than that. Clark is selling out every arena she plays, like Swift is selling out every stadium she performs, because they both exemplify what I have called “Swiftian Normality.” And this is what regular people actually desire: Normality, not the “wokeism” (or whatever you want to call it) that gets pushed on them from above.

Taylor Swift, Real American Princess (RAP)

While important, Clark is not the main character of this story. That is Swift, who, in an age where being weird and transgressive (or literally trans) is rewarded with fame and fortune, has managed to achieve the impossible: becoming the most popular musician on earth as a straight, white, ostensibly Christian, and hyper-feminine woman without tattoos, who does not “sell sex” to male listeners. Indeed, no figure aside from Martin Luther King, Jr. better personifies colorblind meritocracy in the minds of Normies. Other musicians run away from their homes and lie about who they are; Swift adopts the nickname “Miss Americana” and is raking in hundreds of millions of dollars by being her regular, authentic self.

Right-wing misconceptions about Swift abound, especially regarding her too-cute-to-be-true romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end and future NFL Hall of Famer Travis Kelce. Swift is no promiscuous, man-hating lefty; in fact, taking a cursory glance at her recent dating history (and a generous listen to her recent music), brought me to the exact opposite conclusion.

Swift is as temperamentally conservative as celebrities come, and, like many other women her age, she tacitly pines for something wholesome that has been lost. As I explained in January, Swift’s unmistakably lady-like disposition comes alive under the arm of Gladiatorial Kelce:

Conservatives get the entire Taylor Swift story wrong.

The last dude Taylor dated was an unambitious and effeminate British actor, who turned her into a ‘forever girlfriend’ of six years. She is a hopeless romantic who stuck around, even as he hid their relationship, made her walk on the outside of the road, and forestalled family formation. Taylor had to lead the relationship, and play the masculine role. This is why it did not ‘work’—because of course it would not. It rarely, if ever, does.

The conservative worldview has been completely vindicated. Yet, we are not celebrating. Instead, we have to complain about fake ‘wokeness,’ because conservatives are in thrall to a reality television host, who she (similar to, *shock*, most suburban women voters) does not like.

It is true that many millennial women listen to Taylor Swift because they ‘relate’ to her. How could they not? They are living the same tortured existence, brought on by modern dating culture, and the ongoing breakdown of sexual relations.”

If she can be pigeonholed at all, Swift is nothing other than a Real American Princess (RAP): a harmless, semi-traditional sort of woman who, similar to the Jewish American Princess (JAP) and Italian American Princess (IAP) that preceded her, is laughably slurred as the vanguard of “white supremacist” assimilation by multiculturalists and relativists alike. Back in reality, RAPs are simply the product of a prosperous, high-trust society where their efforts to build community—by upholding public decency and order—can flourish (and are appreciated for flourishing). But not every right-winger agrees.

Swiftian Normality and Its Enemies

I have discussed (and, in the process of doing so, refined) the concept of Swiftian Normality over dozens of posts since last November, months before Richard Hanania would talk of “Taylor Swift Democrats” and Ross Douthat would opine about “Taylor Swift, Donald Trump and the Right’s Abnormality Problem.” Swiftian Normality is an elusive, vibes-based idea; however, it can be roughly defined as inoffensive, law-abiding, upwardly-mobile, middle-class culture. Just imagine everything that makes the American Dream possible, and exactly what the nouveau régime—which worships at the altars of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”—wants to destroy.

But the Left has always rejected Swiftian Normality and, likely, always will. They pushed the “Karen” meme, in part, to recast “white women” like Clark and Swift as the true villains of Western civilization, no matter how many “Hate Has No Home Here” signs were stuck in their front lawns, or for how long. That is because they oppose the front lawn itself.

The more concerning yet less obvious threat comes from a new “conservative” faction that seems to have latched itself onto (but is not synonymous with) Donald Trump, as he attempts to win back the presidency in 2024. I have called this small cadre of talking heads and self-styled “influencers” who hold significant sway with elite Republicans—especially those who are extremely online—the “Freak Right.” Members of the Freak Right have committed themselves not just to building a working-class, populist, and decidedly masculine coalition, but actively alienating suburban women voters in the most needless and outlandish of ways, such as opposing Swift (and Kelce and Tayvis) for being a “Deep State” plant backed by George Soros, the left-wing boogeyman himself. When they are not blaming every social ill on the most substantively “trad” couple in the public eye, these Freaks are harassing what few female Republican campaign workers still exist about their non-existent OnlyFans pages (women are prostitutes, get the joke?). As it turns out, nobody despises “Karen” more than Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, who announced his hatred on national television just last month. To his credit, Trump has employed a more strategic line of argument.

Swift opposed Soros’s purchase of her masters and has been re-recording the albums he owns, so that her fans do not further enrich him. In a tangible sense, they are direct enemies. But the blatant lying is beside my point, which is that the Freak Right opposes Swiftian Normality. Its members celebrate criminality, are proudly (though not personally) downwardly mobile, and—if the implications of their batsh*t insane rhetoric are to be taken semi-seriously—want to become a permanent, besieged minority with zero political power. That is because the gas tanks of their boomer-backed Benz trucks stay full by pushing insane conspiracy theories about WEF lizard people and collaborating with unpopular, face-tattooed “MAGA rappers” rather than winning elections and making laws. They complain about the Left punishing them in perpetuity but are in no rush to punish the Left back, even temporarily. Call it a “shared dedication” to Freakishness (and getting rich).

Toward a Girldad Right Future

If suburban women voters—who pay thousands of dollars to sing along to “Cruel Summer” with their daughters for a few, fleeting minutes—are to be brought back into the conservative fold, the Freak Right must be defeated. There are likely several ways to achieve this, but none are easy. My proposal is the development of a rival camp to the Freak Right, which I have called the “Girldad Right.”

At its very simplest, the Girldad Right supports Swiftian Normality. More than that, however, its members accurately recognize Swift for who she currently is: the “Mother Teresa of pop culture,” as I have come to (half-jokingly) call her, and a great role model for girls and young women, provided that their parents have not totally deprived them of basic moral instruction. The Girldad Right is about preparing your daughter for a hard life, while hoping that she has an easy one. Central to the achievement of this goal is being a positive, masculine role model who takes an active interest in all those “girly” things she enjoys doing that you would, otherwise, ignore. It is not about sacrificing your fundamental values by becoming a “squish”; it is about instilling them in the next generation by remaining Normal. When Swifties saw a clip of 6’5” Kelce gently cradling his baby niece like a football, they collectively melted. This is the way forward.

Unsurprisingly, both Brent Clark and Scott Swift have played—and continue to play—significant roles in their daughters’ successful careers. Brent (controversially) enrolled Caitlin in boys’ basketball leagues as a youth, since no girls’ leagues were nearby. After Taylor decided to buck Scott’s professional advice (a rarity) by criticizing Trump in 2018, he bought several armored vehicles for her personal safety. When did being a “daddy’s girl” make you a bloodthirsty Maoist? When the Freaks took over, that is when. Anybody or anything even remotely feminine is now cast as inherently and irredeemably leftist. Do not ask for an explanation why, because you will not get a coherent answer.

There is no sensible reason for conservatives to oppose a latently-Protestant pop star, whose “dirtiest” lyric begrudgingly admits to intimacy with a long-term boyfriend (“you know I’m not a bad girl, but I do bad things with you”) when her competition is giving lap dances to Satan. And although Clark has yet to provoke the ire of the Freak Right, she is not far removed from suffering a fate similar to Swift’s. Taylor Derangement Syndrome (TDS) has shown us that being a prominent female figure who succeeds in a male-dominated field while holding bog-standard liberal beliefs is all it takes. God forbid, her Iowa Hawkeyes win the National Championship and Clark is pictured shaking hands with “Cultural Catholic” Joe BRANDON. Oh, the horror! His wife, Jill (of the same surname), already tried inviting Clark to visit the White House last year in a desperate bid for future primary success. Her Iowa Hawkeyes smartly declined that invitation after losing the National Championship to the LSU Tigers. For Clark, losers do not get participation trophies.

It does not have to be this way. Indeed, it cannot be this way if Republicans want to win anything other than grandma’s “Handsomest Boy” contest going forward. You can court new and interesting voters, but not to the exclusion of older and more reliable ones, and certainly not by alienating over half of the voting public. Continuing to indulge the Freak Right’s wildest fantasies and dumbest delusions about Swift (and, soon enough, Clark) is electoral suicide. The Girldad Right offers a ready and viable alternative: do not automatically and categorically reject femininity. That is it. Taylor Swift and Caitlin Clark are beacons of Normality in a sea of Freakishness—conservatives must support them or betray everything we stand for.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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