Welcome back to another day in the nightmare that is 2020! Yesterday, I did my best to unpack the actual chances that Kanye West was being serious about running for President. Well, that was yesterday, and this is today. While Kanye still has deadlines and rules to deal with, in a new interview with Forbes, he made it clear that he wasn’t just joking with that tweet. F*ck.
Kanye told Forbes that he’ll make a final decision about running within the next 30 days, and shared his thoughts on many important issues. While some of his comments were actually coherent (he doesn’t support the death penalty!), most of what he said was low-key terrifying. Let’s go through the most concerning things he said in the interview, and why he’s still a nightmare of a Presidential candidate.
The most popular headline about Kanye’s interview is that he no longer supports Trump, which is technically true. But while he called Trump’s recent actions “one big mess,” that doesn’t actually mean much about his politics. He said he “would run as a Republican if Trump wasn’t there,” and that “Trump is the closest president we’ve had in years to allowing God to still be part of the conversation.”
Kanye criticized the idea that “all Black people need to be Democrat,” saying that this way of thinking is a form of a form of “white supremacy and white control.” Consequently, he said that his choice to wear the MAGA hat was “a protest to the segregation of votes in the Black community.” For those wondering, if he does run for President, he’ll run as an independent, but will call it the Birthday party, “because when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday.” Yes, really.
I think I can guess where he got the inspiration for that one:
If Kanye sounds a bit… new to politics, it might have something to do with the fact that he has never voted. In fact, he told Forbes that he registered to vote for the first time in his life this Monday. He said he never registered because he was “scared” of expressing his true political beliefs, and felt “threatened into being in one party.”
In one of the most troubling parts of the interview, Kanye questioned whether we should be seeking a vaccine for coronavirus, and cast doubt on vaccines in general. He said “so many of our children that are being vaccinated and paralyzed,” adding that we should be “extremely cautious” with a potential COVID vaccine. He called vaccines “the mark of the beast,” and claimed that “they want to put chips inside of us,” which will make it so that we “can’t cross the gates of heaven.” So Kanye is both an anti-vaxxer and a religious conspiracy theorist. Great.
For reference, the CDC states that “Data show that the current U.S. vaccine supply is the safest in history,” and maintains that “the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks.”
Kanye told Forbes “I am pro-life because I’m following the word of the bible.” In case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve entered the religion portion of the interview.
Given his stance on abortion, it’s unsurprising that Kanye isn’t a big fan of Planned Parenthood. Specifically, he said “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.” Kanye may be referring to Margaret Sanger, an early reproductive rights activist and the first President of Planned Parenthood, who has been criticized for her support of eugenics. However, in recent years Planned Parenthood has been open about Sanger’s problematic beliefs, explaining that her history is “layered and complex.” The current CEO of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGill Johnson, is a Black woman.
Religion In Schools
Kanye is unsurprisingly a supporter of bringing prayer into our schools. He believes that by reinstating “the fear and love of God in all schools and organizations,” we can “chill the fear and love of everything else.” He calls the removal of prayer in schools a “plan by the Devil to have our kids committing suicide at an all-time high.”
When asked about his plan for foreign policy, Kanye said, “I haven’t developed it yet. I’m focused on protecting America, first, with our great military. Let’s focus on ourselves first.” Where have I heard the phrase “America first” before…? Oh, right: nowhere good.
Policy In General
Actually, Kanye isn’t that into the idea of policy at all. He told Forbes, “I don’t know if I would use the word policy for the way I would approach things. I don’t have a policy when I went to Nike and designed Yeezy and went to Louis and designed a Louis Vuitton at the same time. It wasn’t a policy, it was a design.” Great, can’t wait to see how he runs the country the same way he would design a pair of sneakers. It’s gonna be fine!
Don’t worry, Kanye might not like policy, but he still has a plan for how his government will work. Here’s his plan, inspired by Black Panther, because why not: “I’m gonna use the framework of Wakanda right now because it’s the best explanation of what our design group is going to feel like in the White House… That is a positive idea: you got Kanye West, one of the most powerful humans—I’m not saying the most because you got a lot of alien level superpowers and it’s only collectively that we can set it free.” Again, it’s gonna be fiiiiiine.
So, Kanye hasn’t decided for sure if he’s running or not, but at least now we have an idea of just how terrifying his ideas actually are. But the thing is, reading through all these quotes, I can totally imagine lots of people falling for it. We are so f*cked.
Images: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella
UPDATE: Since Kanye West announced his Presidential candidacy on July 4th, we’ve watched with a mix terror and confusion. Is he serious? Why? Can we not? But yesterday, just 10 days after announcing his Presidential candidacy, it appeared that Kanye West’s political ambitions had been put on pause. In a New York Magazine report, Ben Jacobs spoke to Steve Kramer, an election specialist who was hired to work on Kanye’s campaign, who confirmed that “he’s out” of the 2020 race.
Kramer shared that he was hired last week with the goal of getting Kanye West on the ballot in South Carolina and Florida, two states with July 15th filing deadlines. For a moment, the campaign was definitely a real thing, and Kramer claims that they had “over 180 people” working to collect signatures in those states. But by the end of last week, Kramer told Jacobs that Kanye was bowing out, and everything related to the campaign was “canceled.”
But just as we all let out a resounding sigh of relief, the nightmare came to life again. Turns out, Kanye West filed an important federal election form TODAY, suggesting that he may not be done with this presidential nonsense just yet. While each state has their own rules about the election, there are also federal guidelines that candidates have to follow. In order to declare a Presidential candidacy, you have to file two forms with the Federal Election Commission: the Statement of Organization (Form 1) and the Statement of Candidacy (Form 2). Form 1 basically just states that you’ve formed a committee, whereas Form 2 (which is way more important) shows that you’ve raised at least $5,000, and officially makes you a candidate.
Today, Kanye filed Form 1. It’s an important step, but if he really has any intention of entering this race, he only has a short time to file Form 2. The FEC states that Form 2 must be filed “within 15 days of becoming a candidate,” which happened on July 4th in Kanye’s case, unless there’s some weird loophole. It’s been 11 days since then, so hopefully he gets bored in the next few days and doesn’t file the form. But even if he does, he’s still missed the ballot deadlines in crucial states like Texas and Florida. Seriously, why is he even putting us through all of this?
We may never truly know all the details behind this maybe-campaign, but I have a feeling he may not have realized how big of an effort it would be just to get his name on the ballot. Despite grandiose ideas he discussed in that bizarre Forbes interview, I really can’t imagine him following through with this. It’s going to be like when a kid can tell they’re going to lose a board game, so they just get up and leave before it’s over.
Kanye and those around him have been strangely quiet about the status of his campaign, but based on Kim Kardashian’s most recent post, she’s not too concerned. Honestly, she’ll probably be relieved if she doesn’t have to spend the next four months at boring campaign rallies.
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Original Article: I think I speak for all of us when I say that we’ve had enough of 2020. I’d like to go to sleep for the next six months, and then be woken up when we have a coronavirus vaccine. But sadly, I cannot go to sleep, mostly because of the constant fireworks, so this nightmare year just keeps chugging along. This weekend brought some exciting new developments out of the magic bag of hell, like cases of West Nile virus in at least 13 states, a case of Bubonic plague in Mongolia, and Kanye West’s announcement that he’s running for President this year.
Kanye made his big announcement with a tweet on the evening of July Fourth, which felt like the problematic cherry on top of a holiday that some feel we shouldn’t even be celebrating anymore. In his tweet, he declared that we “must now realize the promise of America by Trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future.” Tbh, he lost me at God, but of course none of this actually means anything.
We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States 🇺🇸! #2020VISION
— ye (@kanyewest) July 5, 2020
He finished it off with the hashtag #2020VISION, which I’m honestly surprised neither major party candidate had already claimed for himself. But aside from the immediate urge to laugh at Kanye being Kanye and doing something unbelievable, it’s hard to tell whether he’s joking or not. After all, Kanye said he would run for President in 2020 way back in 2015, though he later said he would run in 2024 because he wanted Trump to serve two terms. So what is the truth? After Kanye’s tweet on Saturday, billionaire Elon Musk quickly hopped aboard the #2020VISION train, tweeting his support.
You have my full support!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 5, 2020
Given Elon Musk’s recent baby name choice, I certainly won’t be taking political advice from him any time soon, but his tweet made it even harder to tell whether this is legit, or if we’re all just being trolled. But it turns out there’s more to running for President than just tweeting about it, and some of the technical details here make an official Kanye West campaign seem pretty unlikely.
First of all, it’s late in the game. So far, Kanye hasn’t filed any official documents about a Presidential run, assuming that a 2015 Green Party filing for “Kanye Deez Nutz West” isn’t legit. You never know, I guess. It’s unclear at this point whether Kanye West leans more Democrat or Republican politically, but he won’t have a chance at either party’s Presidential nomination. Those filing deadlines are long gone, and Trump and Biden have clearly wrapped up those slots in November’s election.
So Kanye would have to run as an independent candidate, but the election filing rules are still complicated. Each state sets their own deadline for independent candidates to file, a handful of which have already passed (including Texas, with its 38 electoral votes). Most state deadlines are in July or August, which would still give Kanye time to file, but there’s another complicating factor. Most states require a potential candidate to collect signatures in support of their candidacy in order to file, and that number varies by state. Kanye obviously has fans, and many states only require a few thousand signatures, but high-population states like California and Florida require well over 100,000. Sure, Kanye has fans, but he’s going to have to mobilize quickly if he actually wants to make this happen.
If he chooses not to mess with the complicated filing deadlines, Kanye’s other option would be to campaign for write-in votes. This would mean a lot less rules to figure out, but of course, he would still have to get people to write his name down in November. Whether or not Kanye is serious, let’s be real, he’s not going to win. But in an election year that many see as one of the most pivotal in recent memory, it feels like the wrong time for distractions. In a tweet that echoed many people’s concerns, actor Eric Balfour called Kanye out:
Do you guys think this is all a joke? That potentially pulling votes away from the only nominee who can defeat Donald Trump is cute or funny? This is the height of privilege, ultimately it won’t hurt you, you’re wealthy enough to survive 4 more years of Trump! Come the fuck on! https://t.co/Y9YIC2ZOpX
— ERIC BALFOUR (@ERICBALFOUR) July 5, 2020
Whether Kanye West actually intends to run for President in November or not, no one needs this right now. We have far bigger issues to focus on, like fighting an out-of-control pandemic, working to undo centuries of racism, and protecting the civil rights of trans people. Everyone should get involved in politics in their own way, but that doesn’t mean Kanye West should run for President.
Images: Sky Cinema / Shutterstock.com; kanyewest, elonmusk, ericbalfour / Twitter