Kanye West is a man who is no stranger to controversy. From suggesting slavery “sounds like a choice” for the enslaved, to exclaiming the innocence of disgraced actor Bill Cosby, the Chicago-raised rapper is a social lightning rod.
Back in 2015, West took to the Stage and announced his intention to run for the role of US President in the year 2020. Of course, few took Mr West’s ambitions too seriously, Donald Trump wasn’t even the Republican frontrunner at that point.
But the year is now 2020: and cometh the hour, cometh the Kanye. And West has once again re-affirmed the public he intends to run for the Presidency.
In a pre-Trump world, we could have just laughed off these outlandish remarks as a publicity stunt, but in America particularly, messages like these should be taken as seriously as possible.
The US Presidency has mockingly been referred to as the ‘easiest that money can buy’: billions of dollars are spent on a quadrennial basis as Democrats, Republicans, and the rare 3rd Party candidate vie to be the leader of the Free World. Any candidate with the right amount of money and political swing can have a stab at running for office in America.
In 2016, that honour was bestowed upon Donald J Trump, in a seismic event that shook global politics to its core. Trump, a man with no prior political experience, known mainly for his role on ‘The Apprentice’ and for once taking a Stone Cold Stunner, would now have his finger over the big red button as POTUS.
A peculiar prospect then, a revolting reality now.
The New York native intends to make it two terms in November, and is expected to take on former Vice President Joe Biden, the all but officially confirmed Democratic nominee. But where would Kanye fit in all of this?
To answer that, we have to look back to two past elections: the first being from 1992. Here, an independent Texan and business magnate called Ross Perot remarkably secured nearly 20 million votes,
So does Kanye really stand a chance at becoming President like Perot did in 1992? The simple answer is no. However it is West’s mere presence on the ballot or even the minds of the electorate that should be considered the greatest cause for concern.
The second election to look at is the infamous 2000 Presidential race between George W Bush and Al Gore. With the Presidency hanging on a knife’s edge, it all came down to the key swing state of Florida to decide. And in a remarkable turn of events, it would be Bush Jr who emerged victorious by a mere 537 votes, and gave the Republican the necessary electoral college seats to claim overall victory.
Back in 2000, blame quickly fell not upon on the shoulders of Al Gore, but instead the Green candidate Ralph Nader: given some of the shared liberal ideologies between the Democrats, Nader was seen as having damaged Gore’s chances of victory in Florida, and ruined the former Vice President’s opportunity by merely being on the ballot.
Now fast forward 20 years, and Biden’s chances of election will likely rest on winning the Sunshine State from the GOP’s grasp. But many have observed that Kanye West, should he be included on certain state ballots, will likely take scores of voters from Biden.
Demographics like young and BAME voters may turnout to vote in protest against Biden and Trump as nominees: a sign of dissatisfaction with the status quo these two men are seemingly the best candidates each party can offer to the Nation and to the World.
In conclusion, it is unlikely we’ll see Kanye permanently in the West Wing, or First Lady Kim Kardashian conversing with Angela Merkel or Jacinda Ardern on matters of global interest, but the damage Kanye West can have on the upcoming US Presidential Election could be irreparable for years to come. The likely scenario is that West’s political positioning greatly benefits Donald Trump more than anyone else.
The United States is a political, social, and economic minefield right now, and come November 2020, Kanye West and Donald Trump could prove to be the pressure that makes said minefield just even more unstable and dangerous.