Kanye for the West Wing?

Acclaimed Musician, Entertainer, and Fashion Designer Kanye West Launches Daring 2020 Bid for the White House

Kanye West has already missed ballot access and primary election deadlines to run as a Democratic or Republican Party candidate. If he petitions onto ballots as an independent, his odds aren’t much better. According to Ballotpedia, West has missed the ballot petition deadlines for multiple states. Worse, he has already lost the trove of electoral votes in must-win states New York and Texas. Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, North Carolina, and possibly Rhode Island add to the bloodbath. Against these daunting odds, could West possibly win?

Credit: US National Archives

He has days to get his ground game moving in time to meet July petition filing deadlines. Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia loom large. Those missed deadlines alone will cost West 102 of the 270 electoral votes required of the 538 available to win. Within the next 25 days, he stands to lose another 47 electoral votes as July deadlines pass.

Every day into August, the numbers turn even more grim. If he fails to qualify by petition for the California and Ohio ballots, he loses every key state. A write-in campaign could recover ballot access in some states, but 33 of them require presidential candidate filings. Nine don’t permit write-in voting for presidential candidates. At best, West could salvage his campaign in no more than 41 states with a write-in campaign. Historically however, write-in bids for the Presidency promise only defeat, unless the candidate is a numbers-savvy billionaire with name recognition, like Kanye West.

Conflict and Opportunity

It may be no accident that West announced on the 4th of July. Democratic primaries to award delegates were to conclude in early June. A minimum of 1,991 pledged delegates lock the Party’s presidential nomination on the first ballot. To date, presumed nominee Joe Biden leads with an estimated total of 2,392 delegates. However, the nomination appears to be still in play.

Date and delegate information is preliminary and subject to change.The Democratic Party will nominate a 2020 presidential candidate at its rescheduled convention in Milwaukee the week of August 17, 2020. Primary and caucus events, originally scheduled to end by June 9, will continue into August. – 270towin.com

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With primary and caucus events continuing up until the convention, the formal nomination process may yet descend into conflict. Such chaos could provide an opportunity for West. Biden’s advanced age and apparent mental deterioration could pressure the Democratic Party to reopen the nomination. On June 29, Rasmussen Reports published survey results that show nearly 40% of likely voters believe Biden has dementia, including 20% of Democratic voters. Half of the Democrat voters believe Biden should publicly acknowledge the issue. Another 14% aren’t sure whether Biden has dementia, a hint they suspect something amiss with Biden.

Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them – 2020 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention

Scorned in the 2016 convention, Bernie Sanders could attract disaffected Biden delegates and revive his fight for the Democratic nomination. Sanders suspended his campaign on April 8 with 1,058 Democratic delegates. If half or more of the Biden delegates change their minds to reflect changing voter sentiments, Democrats could face a contested or brokered convention. They must agree on a nominee by Thursday, August 20th. 

While the Party sets the rules for their nomination convention, the Constitution controls the next exit ramps. If the Party regrets selecting Biden, their remaining recourse is either Article 2 Section 1 or the 25th Amendment. Should Biden become unable to serve as president, his vice president will be sworn into office. After a vice president is sworn in as president, the newly sworn president will appoint a replacement vice president who will serve until the next presidential election.

Actively Engaged or Figurehead President?

Alternatively, the unelected and thus unaccountable administrative state stands ready to run the Executive Branch. In this outcome, elected President Joe Biden becomes a ceremonial head of state. An invisible legion of bureaucrats sets policy as Biden signs bills into law for the cameras. In 2016 the Democratic Party’s sudden rules revisions denied Bernie Sanders, an activist presidential candidate, their presidential nomination. Career, credentialed public servants who govern behind the scenes resent an actively-involved president. Career staff return to preeminence if an incoherent, scandal-compromised candidate emerges victorious against Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Sanders, in Congress since the mid-1980’s, has clearly communicated his policy positions. In 2016, however, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tampered with the convention voting process to override the will of their people. Sanders was denied the nomination in favor of the Party’s preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton. If the Democrats again rewrite nominating rules in August, they risk scorn and wrath in press and public opinion. Now those chickens are coming home to roost, and there’s little the DNC can do to avert the coming calamity.

A Time for Choosing

Enter independent candidate Kanye West. He’s a world-famous African-American family man, a multi-talented musician, a successful entrepreneur, and youthful enough to complete two terms with plenty of appeal for younger voters. West especially appeals to African-American voters, a key voter demographic to the Democratic Party. The son of a former Black Panther, West donated $2 million to families of George Floyd and other blacks killed in recent police shootings. West has been spotted at a Black Lives Matter protest in Chicago.

West’s past admiration for Trump and other key conservative personalities could prove problematic at the polls. However, West currently focuses media attention on popular hot-button issues like police brutality and killer cops. He also advocates for other popular Democratic candidates and causes. West has been photographed with President Trump several times, but so have many other people. So far, nobody is canceling Kanye West concerts or boycotting his brands to protest his connections to the President. Like Donald Trump, Kanye West is a brilliant billionaire and self-described independent thinker. Both men attract print and audiovisual media that feed fascinated audiences across the globe.

Joe Biden
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Joe Biden, on the other hand, frequently attracts media attention for the wrong reasons. In Vanity Fair, comedian Trevor Noah mocked Biden for sniffing women’s hair or rubbing their noses. Saturday Night Live enjoyed rousing applause to its mock news report of Biden’s conduct and failed apology. Unfortunately, Biden’s conduct hasn’t stopped at awkward but non-sexual contact. A woman has alleged that he repeatedly sexually harassed her in 1992 and 1993. Around the time of the alleged unwanted interest and contact, her mother called in to the Larry King Show for advice. The woman, Tara Reade, was a fellow Democrat and former staff member of Biden’s senate campaign. She vividly describes an incident in which Biden pushed her against a wall and fingered her genitals under her clothing. Biden has since committed to naming a female vice president, preferably of color.

Crazy Uncle Joe?

Biden has also been caught on camera sniffing and groping underage girls. While on C-SPAN camera, Biden sniffed, caressed and even groped elementary school-age daughters of new Senators while administering the oath of office largely from memory. In the C-SPAN clip, Biden clearly fondled the breast and nipple area of a school-age girl in Senator Steve Daines’ entourage. Her family could have used the clip as evidence to file a confidential sexual misconduct claim in the Senate against Biden.

Biden’s unintelligible speeches have produced additional unsettling news coverage. On Biden’s home turf in Wilmington, Delaware the community named an aquatic center after him. For the first few minutes of his 15-minute speech, he seemed coherent. But about 4 ½ minutes into it, he spun a yarn about a thug named “Corn Pop.” By the 7-minute mark he lapsed into incoherent prattle about black children rubbing his hairy legs in the swimming pool and sitting on his lap. Then he professed that he learned about roaches. This while surrounded by an audience of baffled black children. While most domestic media has avoided discussing Biden’s increasingly disjointed speeches, Australian news host Rowan Dean said Joe Biden has become excruciating to watch. Just a few days ago, the Hill revisited and expanded on Biden’s seclusion and growing dementia problem.

Kanye West’s Stage Dominance

Kanye West
Credit: ultra 5280 from Denver, USA / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Unlike Joe Biden, Kanye West dominates the stage both in social media and in person. Just under 30 million accounts follow West on Twitter, nearly 5 times more than Joe Biden’s 6.6 million followers. And that’s just one social account. Another 6 million follow West on YouTube; at least three of his videos have amassed 200 to 400 million views, more than the voting population of the United States. In contrast, only about 76,000 people have subscribed to Joe Biden’s YouTube channel. His only video to break 2 million views starred Barack Obama, not Joe Biden. About 2 million accounts follow Joe Biden on Facebook compared to prospective first lady Kim Kardashian’s 30 million followers. 

YouTube viewer numbers suggest possible motivations for Kanye West to jump into the presidential race: more publicity and monetization. He has already earned the equivalent of six Silver YouTube Play Button awards for breaking one million. But at about 6 million YouTube subscribers, West is only about 4 million subscribers shy of the next level Gold YouTube Play Button. His appearance in the Black Lives Matter protest in Chicago may have boosted his YouTube views from 150,000 to over 8 million.

Serious Bid or Marketing Strategy?

However, West’s foray into presidential politics might just be smart trend prediction and marketing. In 2009, West collaborated with Adidas to design a collectible sneaker. His signature sneakers, Yeezys, sometimes resell for a fraction of their initial price point but remain out of reach for many consumers. On June 26, E! News reported that Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian have partnered with Gap in a ten year, multi-billion dollar deal family clothing collection to retail at accessible price points.

On July 2nd, USA Today ran a feature headlined “The 50 best 4th of July clothing and fashion sales to shop this weekend.” The GAP, brought to the brink of insolvency during the Covid-19 pandemic, offered a 75% discount on everything. With their multi-year, multi-billion-dollar deal with The GAP at risk, Kanye West and wife Kim Kardashian may have sought a fast infusion of publicity. Days later amid the 4th of July’s Independence Day celebrations and sales, Kanye West announced his run for the White House. 

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Credit: Jtorquy / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Could a President Kanye West and First Lady Kim Kardashian West greet the nation in January 2021? Reactions on Twitter to his announcement range from enthusiasm to outrage that he’ll split the vote.

Kanye West still has not filed with the Federal Elections Commission for 2020. He also faces backlash for accepting millions in coronavirus aid money.


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Author Profile

Cindy Puckett
Cindy Puckett
Cindy Puckett is a writer for NRN and contributor to NRN+ Magazine. She's a Western Governors University graduate with a BA Interdisciplinary Studies and a teaching license. Her interests include the Constitution, exposing crooks, busting corruption, protecting children, and dissecting political propaganda. Her razor-sharp research and writing skills deliver engaging articles for the general public. Puckett has enjoyed three years of life and travel in Europe. She's especially fond of everything science, animals, trend prediction, weird news, and remains an incurable genealogy junkie.