A difficult year just offered some comic relief.
Kanye West, the talented and erratic musician who is married to reality icon Kim Kardashian, announced Saturday night on Twitter that he is running for president.
It’s impossible to know whether the man is serious, or if it’s a publicity stunt, but at least a reeling public will now have someone at whom to laugh. Kanye’s not a comedian, but his campaign is certain to provide many moments of jocularity.
For starters, Kanye doesn’t seem to know much about the news cycle or timing his announcement for maximum impact. He declared his candidacy with a 27-word post to his 29.4 million followers at around 9 p.m., EDT, on Independence Day, a time and day when virtually nobody is paying attention.
“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future,” West wrote. “I am running for president of the United States.”
Those 27 words were followed by a United States flag emoji, an exclamation point and #2020VISION.
Needless to say, the smart money is on this being a stunt, considering West is married into the First Family of Publicity. Nothing the Kardashian/Jenner clan says or does, it seems, isn’t without exposure in mind.
West immediately picked up his first endorsement from a fellow successful yet idiosyncratic individual: Elon Musk. “You have my full support,” the erratic CEO of Tesla responded, according to Reuters.
It is difficult to envision a scenario in which Kanye will be taken seriously or move the needle. With four months until the election, he will have to run as an independent. It’s unknown whether he has filed any paperwork to get on the ballot anywhere, although there is still time to do so in many states.
Kanye has made a mark, in a way, with the last three presidents.
Famously, after the botched response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Kanye publicly said during a benefit concert that, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Those comments clearly shook President Bush, because five years later he brought them up in an interview after leaving office, calling them the low point of his presidency.
West’s eccentric behavior made waves again in 2009 during the Barack Obama administration when the singer rushed the stage to interrupt an acceptance speech by Taylor Swift after she won an MTV Video Music Award. Obama called West a jackass after the incident. Twice.
Most recently, Kanye stunned his fans when he came out as a Donald Trump supporter, leading to a few more bizarre incidents. In 2018, he delivered a pro-Trump rant during an off-camera moment to a Saturday Night Live audience. When he visited Trump at the White House the same year, he made another profanity-laced speech in front of journalists that didn’t make much sense.
Should this be a legitimate presidential run, it’s difficult to figure out from whom West would siphon votes. Conventional wisdom is that he would target the African-American electorate, but the man is a proud Trump supporter. With the Musk endorsement, he seems to have the eccentric billionaire vote locked up. Unfortunately for West, there aren’t very many of those.
Whatever West hopes to achieve by tonight’s announcement, there is one thing that is 100 percent certain.
He will never be president.