By Ciara Hartnett
On the Fourth of July 2020, former rapper ‘billionaire’ turned fashion designer, Kanye West, addressed speculation for his 2024 presidential campaign that he has been teasing since the 2015 MTV VMAs, in a tweet proclaiming the launch of his 2020 presidential campaign as candidate for the independent ‘birthday party’ (*sigh*), four years earlier than planned. Yes, you heard right, with the election of Donald Trump in 2016 few could have anticipated that a further mockery of the American Political system could have followed suit, but alas, here we are.
Before I begin disucssing Kanye’s poltical agenda (if there is one), I first feel the need to inform readers on context proving Kanye’s lack of commitment to his presidency. After his twitter announcment, political experts Robert Shapiro and Wallace S. Sayre, Professor of Government and Professor of International and Public Affairs in the Columbia University, met with Billboard on 6th of July 2020 (two days after his announcement) to discuss how Kanye had neglected to fill out essential forms to register as an independent party on the ballot of six states: New York, Texas, North Carolina, Maine, New Mexico and Indiana. This leads to a still unclear decision whether Kanye’s campaign will come into fruition.
Further proving his unreliable leadership, Kanye West has admitted to never voting in his life (thankfully rectifing this and providing the world with an apparently nessasary video of him registering on July 9th 2020). Sadly, the fact is that he was one of the 20% of American society that are eligible yet unregistered voters, 44% of which state their reasons is simply that they do not want to vote. Kanye has also previously stated that he is “too busy writing history to read it”, forcing recognition on his evident lack of knowledge or care for American history, or a basic understanding of American politics, pressing question on his reasons for his sudden presidential dream. Many speculate his campaign is simply a marketing ploy for his upcoming albumn release.
Accompanied with his anticipated album release, many are speculative of his campaign, especially due the fact that Kanye has openly supported Trump in the years previous to his twitter announcement, often publicly wearing Trump’s staple red Make America Great Again Hat which he now explains was a “protest to the segregation of votes in the black community…also… I like trump hotels and the saxophones in the lobby”. Evident through his obscure reasoning for sporting Trump Propaganda, Kanye has now decided to oppose his former best buddy in his presidential campaign, however the beliefs held by these two presidential campaigners is concerningly similar.
Having already made racist accusation against planned parenthood stating they were “placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil's work” later refuted by the director of Black Leadership and Engagement at Planned Parenthood, Kanye lost further respect during a recent presidential campaign rally for himself on July 19th 2020. At the rally Kanye made numerous inconsiderate and offensive remarks including but not limited to abortion (suggesting women should be given 1 million dollars to keep a baby instead of using Plan B), Harriet Tubman ("Harriet Tubman actually never freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people") and gun control ("Guns don't kill people. People kill people").
Due to his actions, the majority of global society perceives Kanye West’s ambition for presidency as comedic and ultimately impossible, however a word of caution must be expressed, as this same mentality was expressed during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and the past four years have highlighted the detrimental effects of this underestimation. Although Kanye’s election as president appears impossible, emphasis by multiple American activists has been placed on the support Trump will inadvertently gain from Kanye’s presidential campaign. The problem of Donald Trump’s re-election stems from Americas skewed voting system. Australia has preferential voting, meaning we rank our candidates in order of who we would like to see elected, if our first preference candidate falls short of votes, our vote will be transferred to our second preference, whilst in America citizens simply vote for one candidate and it cannot change. This means that all votes that go toward Kanye cannot be transferred to his Democratic opposition Joe Biden even if those voters would have wanted, discarding essential votes that could determine the elected president.
Further analysis shows that Kanye has the potential to split votes from People of Colour between himself and Joe Biden. According a July 9th dated national presidential voting intention poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies (the first since Kanye’s entrance into the presidential poll), Kanye West had secured 2% of intended votes. Whilst the poll also indicates a 1% drop in intended Trump votes, it must be explained that this poll can only reveal the voting intentions of America, and as such every percentage that is secured by Kanye West’s ludicrous campaign is a percentage that could have been awarded towards Biden, possibly the percentage that differentiates between a Biden or Trump presidency. Although this poll projects America’s intended votes, society can only hope Kanye’s actions subsequent to this poll will be enough to deter irreversible votes towards his campaign.
Although Kanye West is currently the only one to take action, numerous celebrities have expressed interest in running for President, and although it could be argued many of these hold higher moral values than America’s current president or Kanye, it begs the question on whether Americas social and political world are dangerously coinciding. This hazardous collision creating a global comedic stigma around the US democratic process and forcing contemplation on its effectiveness. Now in the true sense of Karma I will use a lyric from Kanye’s critically praised 2010 song Power against him and warn him “No one man should have all that power”. Please Kanye just listen to your 2010 self.