Kanye West – prolific musician, fashion aficionado, and poster child for mental health awareness – is running for President… or is he?
The rapper announced his presidential bid on Twitter July 4.
“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision, and building our future,” West wrote. “I am running for president of the United States.”
Like most rational people, I assumed the impetus for West’s announcement was one too many July 4th adult beverages.
Weekend speculation gave way to confirmation by Monday morning, and by Wednesday, West had given his first official interview as a declared candidate for President.
The rapper sat down with Forbes magazine for a wide-ranging discussion in which he renounced his support for President Donald Trump and said he is running on the “Birthday Party” ticket.
“I am taking the red hat off, with this interview,” declared YeYe.
West told Forbes he’ll be seeking campaign advice from Elon Musk and announcing an obscure vice-presidential candidate that he’s already chosen. “Like anything I’ve ever done in my life,” West declared, “I’m doing to win.”
But what if Kanye West isn’t running for President after all? What if, crazy as it sounds, the rapper is working behind the scenes with Donald Trump to pull votes away from Biden and ensure the President’s re-election in November?
The idea isn’t too far fetched. Donald Trump is strategic in his business and political dealings, and he certainly has a keen understanding of how to manipulate the media’s narrative to his advantage. The President understands the human need – particularly the need of celebrity – to be “liked” and made to feel as though they are a part of something meaningful and lasting.
Kanye West is no stranger to a good “troll” himself either (“Whoopidty Poop Scoop” anyone?)
What if, bizarre as it sounds, Trump called Kanye West up at 3 am one morning and said, “Hey Kanye, I have an idea…”
Legitimate or not, analysts who are taking West’s presidential run at face value say the rapper’s bid for the White House would undoubtedly dampen voter support for Joe Biden, thus lifting Trump’s chances of securing a second term.
It’s enough of a threat that liberal media outlets such as CNN are openly pleading with Kanye West not to run.
“West has every right to run for President,” CNN contributor Dean Obeidallah wrote in an article Sunday, later adding, “But this isn’t a game. We aren’t at an MTV awards show. Nor are we living in a time where West could be seen as a fun distraction. Rather, we are living in dangerous times that demand thoughtful, informed leadership – not another celebrity fueled by his own ego to get attention.”
Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison told Newsweek, that while an election victory is unlikely, West’s candidacy could have an impact in battleground states such as Michigan.
“I think he has little chance to win the popular vote anywhere but if there’s a close divide in a state like Michigan, maybe Kanye could play the role of the decider,” Burden said. “Minor parties often end up playing that role.”
Burden notes Ralph Nader’s 2000 campaign for the White House as one such example.
Running against Democratic candidate Al Gore and Republican candidate George W. Bush, Nader managed to garner about three percent of the nationwide vote. Bush won Florida by 537 votes and analysts noted at the time that if a small percentage of Nader’s 100,000 Florida supporters voted for Gore instead, he would have ended up in the White House.
Depending on who you ask, Ross Perot either cost President George H.W. Bush his re-election bid in 1992 or at the very least, garnered a significant portion of the vote from Republicans who were disenchanted with the President for breaking his “No new taxes” pledge.
Personally, I welcome a Kanye West candidacy. I’d like to see him on the debate stage taking shots at Biden and offering his take on international policy. Who knows? We might even get some otherwise disinterested eligible voters to pay attention for a change.