This year has been so wild that the news of rapper and business mogul Kanye West’s announcement that he is running for president is almost just expected, isn’t it? I mean, the man has said he’d do it in the past but hasn’t gone through with his boast, so I suppose this is as good of a time as any for him to jump into the mix.
Remember when Kanye West went to the White House and sat in the Oval Office with President Trump? The press and Democrats (but I repeat myself) went nuts, especially after Kanye donned a red MAGA cap. West has frequently spoken of his friendship with Trump. He took the usual abuse on social media for being an Uncle Tom for the bad Orange Man yet that kind of criticism usually just rolls off his back – Kanye’s accustomed to criticism for posting his opinions and ideas on social media that are viewed by his 29.5M followers. Let’s face it, he’s definitely a person who thinks outside the box. Now he’s decided again that he’ll run for president – this time against his friend, President Trump.
So, Kanye announced on Twitter that he is running for president on July 4th.
We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States 🇺🇸! #2020VISION
— ye (@kanyewest) July 5, 2020
Kanye’s friend Elon Musk tweeted his support right away, which led to past tweets from Musk in support of West reminding followers that he’s a kindred spirit.
Kanye is truly an inspirational figure, & we all know how much you respect it 😃
— Pranay Pathole (@PPathole) July 5, 2020
Perhaps the two have spoken about this idea. They were together just a few days ago.
Mrs. West, Kim Kardashian, is endorsing (or indulging) her husband, too.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 5, 2020
Kardashian’s 65.5M supporters were not amused. Some rightly pointed out that if Kanye went through with this idea, he’d pull voters from Joe Biden, not Donald Trump. Trump supporters won’t jump ship to vote for Kanye West, but Biden voters might. Joe Biden has an enthusiasm problem, especially among young black voters, which he needs to win. The Obama coalition has not come together behind Joe Biden, which is the same problem Hillary Clinton had in 2016. Perhaps a run as an Independent candidate might bring them out to vote. And, he has the turn to religion and gospel music as a draw for African-Americans. Who knows? There is nothing normal in 2020. Just gaming out a Kanye West run for the presidency is crazy enough.
It is too late for West to get on the ballot as an Independent in some states. He’s missed the deadline in Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Texas, according to Ballotpedia. This is why West’s tweet announcing a presidential run looks like just another whim being voiced. Those states and their electoral votes would be important to a serious candidate.
West just signed a 10-year deal with Gap for his Yeezy brand. It is reported that he hasn’t filed paperwork in any state yet for a presidential run. The Democrat voting base, reporters, were also skeptical of the seriousness of the tweet.
Kanye West went from endorsing Trump to claiming he’d run against him —an announcement that benefits the president to the degree it spotlights Biden’s need for black voters & his potential weakness with young voters https://t.co/0m4PUO6s6a
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) July 5, 2020
Kanye West isn’t really gonna run for President, but his next album will be called Presidential Dropout
— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) July 5, 2020
Kanye West has expressed political ambitions in the past. This just may be him reaching out and acknowledging those ambitions are alive and well.
West’s declaration suggests the rapper is looking to cement political ambitions he has expressed throughout Trump’s presidency. West previously forged alliances with Trump, and was pictured in the Oval Office in 2018 wearing a signature Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ cap. He once called the president his “brother” and previously hit back at criticism towards his support for Trump, likening the backlash to racial discrimination. Although he says he didn’t vote in 2016, West later said he “would have voted for Trump”, and earlier this year doubled down, suggesting he would vote for him in November. But that could very well change given Saturday’s announcement.
West first publicly announced a future run during the 2015 MTV VMAs. He said he’d run in 2020 but then after Trump’s election, he changed his mind. Last fall he said he’d run in 2024.
Back in 2015 at the MTV VMAs, West first announced his plan to run for president in 2020. Then in 2018, after his show of support for President Donald Trump stirred controversy, the 21-time Grammy winner said he would no longer pursue a career in politics.
“My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!” he tweeted at the time.
But by the fall of 2019, Kanye had changed his mind and said he would launch a presidential campaign in 2024 after all.
During an appearance at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival, the star shared, “When I run for president in 2024, we would’ve created so many jobs that I’m not going to run, I’m going to walk.”
So, here we are. This is the kind of story that serves as a distraction when many of us are looking for distractions from the daily grind of stories about the coronavirus pandemic and the financial crisis our country is experiencing. Maybe Kanye West is just stirring the pot to keep things interesting. We are only halfway through 2020, who knows what else is coming down the pike?