How Kanye West's breakdown revealed MAGA's id

The content of Kanye’s message, itself, made the emotional response on the right even more telling. During his various rants, West hewed closely to their favored arguments, attacking the Democratic Party for their grip on the black vote (“A liberal would try to control a black person through the concept of racism”), the virtues of nationalism (“[America] has to be the freshest, the flyest, the flyest planes, the best factories”), and the closing of the liberal mind (“You think racism can control me?”). But he also spoke unusually candidly about the psychology that drew him to Trump, whom he praised for reversing the supposed feminization of the culture:

“This hat, it gives me power, in a way. My dad and my mom separated, so I didn’t have a lot of male energy in my home. And, also, I’m married to a family that, you know, not a lot of male energy going on. It’s beautiful, though! . . . I love Hillary [Clinton]. I love everyone, right? But the campaign ‘I’m with Her’ just didn’t make me feel—as a guy that didn’t get to see my dad all the time—like a guy that could play catch with his son. It was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman. You made a Superman.”

The honesty of this sentiment was, in a way, a redeeming moment in an otherwise unsettling media spectacle. While other far-right elements intellectualize or excuse Trump’s authoritarianism, Kanye provided a concise explanation for the president’s appeal. In a world lacking order, Kanye seemed to say, Trump is daddy.