It’s the latest plot twist of an already crazy year but if Kanye West was ever going to run for President it was going to be in 2020. Betty Wilson explains why the rapper is running for office and how it is even possible this late in the electoral cycle.
Why does Kanye West want to run for President of the United States of America?
Ever since 2015, Kanye West has repeatedly suggested a desire to run for President of the United States, a dream that then become a much more real possibility when Donald Trump took office in January 2017, showing that you don’t need to be a politician to become President. It is unclear why exactly Kanye has this desire but his recent growth in political involvement has suggested that an eventual run was inevitable.
How did he announce his candidacy?
Despite previously stating that he would wait until “after 2024”, Kanye West posted a tweet on America’s Independence Day reading: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying or vison and building our future. I am running for president of the United States #2020VISION”
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
How is this even possible?
In the United States the only requirements to run for President are that you are a natural born US citizen, over 35 years old, who has been a resident of the US for over fourteen years. Born in Georgia in 1977, Kanye meets this criteria.
However, at this late stage in the electoral cycle, there are limitations upon his candidacy. His announcement has come after the deadline in all 50 states to run as a candidate for either major political party and therefore he must run as an independent candidate. Yet, as of 5th July, it is unclear whether Kanye has actually filled any official paperwork to formally run for President.
Who will be Kanye’s supporters?
Shortly after the Twitter announcement, Elon Musk declared his “full support” for Kanye’s run, the first endorsement of the candidate and one that could help with funding throughout the campaign. But, the support of a billionaire isn’t enough to secure the presidency, Kanye West needs to gain public votes.
It’s hard to know what platform Kanye would run on. He has previously stated that a West presidential run would be a mix between “the Trump campaign and maybe the Bernie Sanders principles” but it’s unclear what exactly this means. Many of Kanye’s political statements in recent years such as an opposition to abortion and support of Second Amendment rights to own a firearm, place him on the right of the political spectrum however, his participation in the Black Lives Matter movements of June 2020 and opposition to mass incarceration and the Thirteenth Amendment are more typical of the left. Instead, it is likely that he will craft his own platform that merges his ideologies if he does intend to run a serious campaign.
It’s hard to imagine that a presidential campaign by Kanye West would do anything to damage Trump’s hardcore base but what Kanye’s candidacy may do is split the vote, most likely in favour of Trump who Kanye has been known to vocally support over the last four years.
West seems like the perfect candidate to take votes away from Biden who is already struggling with youth and black voters, two groups that are searching for a voice that speaks up for their views and have probably grown up singing along to Gold Digger and Stronger.
Could he actually win the election in November?
President West does have a certain ring to it and it’s hard to shake the vision of Kim Kardashian becoming the First Lady – just imagine what the next series of Keeping Up With The Kardashians would look like! – but is this vision an actual possibility? Could we see the West’s taking over the White House come January 2021?
In Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Texas it is already too late for an independent candidate to get on the ballot in the presidential election, states that could provide a total of 102 electoral votes. Likewise, Kanye has no political background or experience and although this did not stop Trump from becoming President, Kanye’s running as an independent candidate will also limit his funding and support from the major parties and donors. Besides George Washington in 1789, no independent has ever won the US presidency.
But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can never rule out the seemingly impossible.
Maybe this time next year, President West will be the first President to release an album, maybe he will be inaugurated in Yeezy trainers and Kim will provide new access to the White House through Instagram lives and Snapchat updates. Maybe in 2020 Kanye West will “run the whole election”!