KANYE 2020 IS A JOKE, AND IT’S NOT A FUNNY ONE
Ever since Kanye West first announced his presidential plans at the MTV Music Awards in 2015, ‘Kanye 2020’ has been a running joke on the Internet. But just as Donald Trump’s presidential run was unimaginable back in 2011, the cruel joke that has been 2020 has provided us with another dose of irony: Kanye West has officially announced his run for president.
Aside from both of them being celebrities, there are few similarities between Donald Trump and Kanye West’s presidential bids. West announced his running just four months before the November election, making him ineligible to run as an independent in five states. According to a Forbes analysis, West is ineligible to win as many as 187 of the 538 available electoral votes for the November election (candidates need at least 270 to win).
West is running as an Independent, for something called the Birthday Party, and he is being advised by Tesla mogul Elon Musk. According to an interview with Forbes, much of his vision is framed after the Marvel movie Black Panther. He does not have a foreign policy or a tax policy. In fact, he purposefully lacks policies, period.
“I don’t know if I would use the word policy for the way I would approach things. I don’t have a policy, when I went to Nike and designed Yeezy and went to Louis and designed a Louis Vuitton at the same time,” said West in the interview. “It wasn’t a policy, it was a design. We need to innovate the design to be able to free the mind at this time.”
The possibility of a President Kanye is near zero. But the worrying aspect is not his chance of winning—rather, his problem is the run itself.
Despite claiming (without explanation) to have ‘dumped Trump’ in the same interview, West has been a long standing supporter of President Trump since 2016. He praised Trump’s “nonpolitical methods to speaking” and “dragon energy.” West visited the White House back in 2018. While West’s views aren’t particularly Trumpian (he claims to support common sense gun control and prison reform), his support of Trump has been clear and long documented.
West has also said that he is okay with siphoning off potential Black votes from Democratic nominee Joe Biden, thus dividing the Democratic ticket and clearing the pathway for another four years of Donald Trump.
When asked if he was deliberately helping Trump by dividing the ticket, West said, “I’m not denying; I just told you. To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.”
Except it isn’t white supremacy, it’s statistics. According to Pew Research, 87% of Black voters identify or lean as Democratic, while only 7% identify or lean as Republican. Historically, every time a Third Party candidate becomes popular, it results in a split ticket for one of the major parties.
Famously in the 2000 election, Presidential Nominee Al Gore lost a tight race in Florida to George W. Bush, which Bush won by fewer than 600 votes. Many people blame this victory not on Bush, but on Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, who won 3% of the popular vote. Many believe that he siphoned enough Democratic votes away in order to pave the way to victory for George W. Bush.
But comparing Kanye West to Ralph Nader would be cruel, because at least Nader had a platform to present and things that he believed in. Nader was a lawyer, a political activist and a consumer advocate; West is a rapper on a downward spiral towards complete insanity. Despite his insistence that it isn’t, this presidential run is most likely a publicity stunt for a new album, or fuel for a lyric he’ll write in 2022. He doesn’t believe in anything, he isn’t promising anything, and there is no doubt that he knows that.
In the end, voting for Kanye West in 2020 is exactly the same as voting for Harambe in 2016. It’s stupid, but not as stupid as imagining all those people who waited in line for hours just to cast their vote for a long stale, dead joke.