Kanye West over the weekend tweeted his intention to run for president in 2020. This with just under four months left before polling stations open (and early voting set to open in some states, such as Illinois, 40 days before the November election). His wife, Kim Kardashian, has confirmed that Kanye is, in fact, running for president this year.
The usual suspects in the media are laughing at the announcement. Most believe it’s just a publicity stunt. But I think something else is at play here, and I think Kanye’s bid for president should be encouraged—particularly on the Right.
The first question on everyone’s mind is: can Kanye win? The likely answer is “no.”
Kanye and those closest to him almost certainly understand that. If they do understand the reality, then, it is likely his flirtation with seeking high office has a larger purpose. Greater publicity has little to do with it, though Kanye will certainly gain that. Running for president, even as a longshot prospect, is a daunting task. There has to be either real belief in the cause or something one can gain for engaging in such a costly endeavor.
Beginning in the 1980s, for example, Donald Trump flirted with running for the highest elected office in the land. He always stopped shy of running for the presidency because, as he said repeatedly in public, he would only ever commit to running if he believed he could actually win. After nearly 30 years of teasing his intention to run for the presidency, Trump finally committed in 2015.
As the folks at Ballotpedia have reported, most state laws prevent Kanye from running as either a Democrat or Republican this late in the election cycle. So Kanye would have to run as an independent. In To qualify as an independent and receive a place on the various state ballots, Kanye and his team would need to petition all 50 states to allow him on. According to Hunter Walker of Yahoo! News, Kanye is already ineligible to appear on the ballot in three of the top six states in the electoral college—Illinois, Texas, and New York—because he missed the filing deadlines in those all-important states. Others, such as the electorally vital state of North Carolina, have deadlines fast approaching.
Of course, Kanye could run as a write-in candidate. But, as Deseret News has assessed, “33 states require a write-in presidential candidate to file some paperwork in advance of an election. In nine states, write-in voting for presidential candidates is not permitted.” That’s 42 of the 50 states that either restrict or disallow presidential write-in candidates for this stage of the presidential campaign. The remaining states, however, remain open to such a bid.
Even if he only were to appear on the ballots in a few states, though, it might be enough to help Donald Trump’s reelection bid—a cause that is looking especially bleak as the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China propagates throughout the country, race riots continue unabated, and the economy remains in the doldrums (although it has seen modest improvements in the last month).
And that is why I believe Kanye is running for president: the desire to help his friend and fellow celebrity, Donald Trump.
Kanye has made it known that he supports President Trump; Kanye made headlines when he embraced the president during the contentious transition from the Obama Administration into the Trump Administration in 2017, and he ruffled the feathers of several powerful people in the entertainment industry when he unapologetically donned a crimson “Make America Great Again” ball cap. Kanye has also defended the controversial black conservative commentator, Candace Owens—much to the chagrin of his colleagues in Hollywood. On top of that, he has moved away from rap music and into making gospel music—all while proclaiming his newfound faith in Jesus Christ as his savior.
All of these changes factor heavily into Kanye’s decision to run for president. He probably can’t win. Those likely to be drawn to his campaign will be voters who otherwise would have been more inclined to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden (young people, urbanites, and minorities) than Donald Trump in November. Kanye just might peel away enough people from Biden to give Trump the edge he needs to win reelection.
Kanye becomes a significant threat to Biden’s chances if he manages to meet the July filing deadline in states like California, South Carolina, Florida, Michigan, and Colorado—all of which Biden must win in order to ensure his victory over Trump in November. By taking even a small percentage of Biden’s potential voters, Kanye can help Trump bigly.
For all of these reasons, I say that Kanye absolutely should run for president. He could very well save the republic from the irrevocable socialism that a Biden presidency would impose on us, by helping President Trump across the finish line in November.