Can Kanye West Become President?

by Abhi Obili
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On July 4th, Kanye West tweeted that he was running for president in the 2020 election – shocking people in America.

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β€’ West Day Ever. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

A post shared by KANYE WEST (@jesusisking) on

It was so shocking that people may have forgotten that two women were hit by a Jaguar in Seattle. Although it looks as if it’s coming back into the news (thankfully).

So why is Kanye running and what could be his endgame? These are questions that we don’t (or may never) have a clear answer to.

But does he have a path to presidency? Could he become the second Black president of the United States? Let’s see if this is possible.

For this article, I’m going to be an optimist and pretend that I’m Kanye’s campaign manager.

What he would need to do…

In order to be competitive against Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Kanye would need to prove to the American people that he’s a much stronger candidate than both of them. And that he’s much more capable of leading the country and fulfilling the people’s needs than both of them. He would need to prove this so well that people would actually commute to the polling locations just to place a vote for Kanye.

More obstacles for Kanye…

That’s not an easy task considering how for one, people perceive him as a rapper rather than a president. Secondly, it’s too late for him to appear on the ballot for 6 states. Thirdly, he still needs to register with the Federal Election Commission, get enough signatures to be on the ballot, build his campaign, etc. Fourthly, as an independent candidate – he’d lose numerous votes simply because people would vote along party lines and ideology.

But let’s say he does do all that and gets the resources to campaign and advertise vigorously – during COVID-19 restrictions. He needs to then learn about and develop positions on key issues like healthcare, wealth inequality, abortion, China, etc. Performing exceptionally well in the debates can maybe convey to the public that he’s qualified to be president. Perhaps he should hire some good advisors to prep him for that. And can he do all of this in less than 4 months – while running as an independent?

Kanye’s advantages

One of Kanye’s advantages is that the polls are showing Trump lag behind Biden, so this suggests people are open to Trump alternatives. Secondly, people aren’t as enthusiastic about Biden’s candidacy due to his gaffes, his past record with forced busing, etc. In addition, Kanye is incredibly famous, so he doesn’t need to try as hard as other independents in getting recognized. Although his fans would need to take him seriously as a presidential candidate for Kanye to capitalize on their votes.

If Kanye manages to do a full 180, impress the American people with his knowledge/expertise in policy debates, and get his campaign message to enough people in under 4 months, he might already impress me enough to vote for him. But voting is also sometimes an intuitive process (study at bottom of link), and some of Kanye’s comments in the past can be used against him – even if he transforms into a qualified presidential candidate. He would always need to defend himself from his past statements each time someone, like Trump, attacks him.

Overall, if this isn’t a publicity stunt and Kanye transforms into a qualified alternative to Trump in the eyes of the people, I don’t see why he won’t have a shot. However, this is an extremely difficult task – given that he’d be running as an independent in a short amount of time.

My prediction

What I predict will happen if Kanye ends up actually running is that he will pull a small percentage of votes from both Biden and Trump, having an overall negligible effect on the race. I also don’t think he’ll be able to pull votes from Biden that easily due to Biden’s affiliation with still very popular President Obama. But Kanye might be able to if he can do that full 180 I talked about earlier.

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β€’ Fourth. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

A post shared by KANYE WEST (@jesusisking) on

Final Verdict…

If I were Kanye’s campaign manager, I’d first tell him the reality of the situation and that he needs to start campaigning immediately. I’d then tell him to emphasize clear policy positions/goals to show his qualifications. Whatever strategy he chooses, if he wants to win, it won’t be a Yeezy task.

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