In 2015, when Kanye West accepted the Video Vanguard lifetime achievement honor at the MTV Video Music Awards, he wrapped up his rambling, 11-minute speech with this declaration: “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.” Spectators in the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles guffawed at the time, but it seems like the “Power” rapper wasn’t joking — as he celebrated the Fourth of July this weekend by announcing on social media that he is actually launching a last-minute presidential campaign.
“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,” West posted early Saturday evening, quickly setting off fireworks across the Twitterverse.
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
With the presidential election only four months away, it is unclear if West is serious about making it onto the 2020 ballot, or if that’s even possible. (Several fans referenced his sophomore album’s title in Twitter jokes about his “late registration.”) Last November at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York, West had once again declared his intention to run for president — but in 2024. That speech also elicited crowd laughter, to which West retorted, “What y’all laughing at? We would create so many jobs! I’m not going to run, I’m going to walk. When you see headlines saying ‘Kanye’s crazy’ — one in three African-Americans are in jail and all the celebrities are in jail also because they can’t say nothing, they got no opinion, they’re so scared!"
On Saturday, many people on Twitter were still snickering at West’s latest campaign announcement. (Some replied with memes suggesting that West’s nemesis dating back to the 2009 VMAs, the newly politically vocal Taylor Swift, would be a more qualified candidate.) Many others understandably assumed that this was all just some publicity stunt to promote new ’Ye music dropping soon. And others seemed excited by the news, namely West’s pal and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who said West has his “full support.”
Anyways here’s Obama on Kanye and Taylor pic.twitter.com/GipmR5HPRB— Mimi ﾟ* ✧･ﾟﾟ (@mimirose101) July 5, 2020
Rt if you want Taylor Swift for president pic.twitter.com/XSbCltBErq— celina kyle "NO DMS" (@celinakyle139) July 5, 2020
You have my full support!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 5, 2020
However, many other alarmed tweeters expressed the valid concern that if West really were to run, presumably on an independent ticket, he could siphon votes from presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden, split the vote and thus ensure President Trump’s reelection — and they theorized that that is indeed the rapper’s true agenda.
It doesn't matter if he's having some sort of episode, plugging an album, trying to steal votes from Biden to help Trump win, or serious about becoming president despite having missed many filing deadlines, Kanye West needs to **** all the way off for announcing a POTUS run today https://t.co/9jqcW5lYDO— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) July 5, 2020
Is Kanye going to try to pull votes from Biden?— JT Lewis (@thejtlewis) July 5, 2020
Kanye West will single handily expose the Democrats and Joe Biden to the Black community.— Derek Utley (@realDerekUtley) July 5, 2020
After he has accomplished this mission, he will endorse @realDonaldTrump.
Mark my words.
Kanye running for President! Now I love his musical legacy and I got a few pair of Yeezy's but.... is this an attempt to split the vote, take votes away from Biden so Trump can win again? I mean you've been known to wear a maga hat 🤷🏽♀️— IG: @TamiRoman (@TamiRoman) July 5, 2020
Imagine turning 18 this years and your options are Trump, Joe Biden or Kanye west pic.twitter.com/nHdkTCEfDZ— Charli (@charlisxangels) July 5, 2020
the fact that so many of y’all actually thought kanye pretended to support trump.🤡 he’s most likely running as an independent to pull from biden’s pool of voters and ensure a trump win. don’t forget 1000’s of voters wrote in harambe in the 2016 election.🤡 pic.twitter.com/CIfJs5ipAA— clem🌞 (@clemonwhite) July 5, 2020
Why are people so damn dumb? Kanye West is running for President to help Trump. He wants people to write in his name on ballots to siphon votes from Biden.— Erica Lynn🦋 (@SurfingBlue2020) July 5, 2020
I’m so tired of the blatant stupidity in this country. I can’t take this shit anymore!
For the love of god...do not waste your vote on Kanye and risk getting Trump re-elected for another term...— Sebastian (@Sebass_Aleman) July 5, 2020
If Kanye runs in 2020 (which I’m doubtful he will), he’d only take away votes from Joe Biden. Young people are already unenthusiastic enough as is about Biden’s candidacy but he’d also chip away at Biden’s black support.— CJ Pearson (@thecjpearson) July 5, 2020
Trump voters are TRUMP voters. His base remains unchanged.
To anyone even thinking of voting for a "progressive" Kanye platform:— Is America Great Yet? (@TonysLosTigres) July 5, 2020
1) He's a trump supporter
2) Trump probably put him up to this to split Biden's vote
3) Kanye called slavery a choice
4) Kanye has a deep history of instability like Trump
DO NOT VOTE FOR KANYE AS A JOKE. DO NOT VOTE FOR KANYE AS A JOKE. DO NOT VOTE FOR KANYE AS A JOKE. DO NOT VOTE FOR KANYE AS A JOKE. DO NOT VOTE FOR KANYE AS A JOKE. DO NOT VOTE FOR KANYE AS A JOKE. DO NOT VOTE FOR KANYE AS A JOKE. DO NOT VOTE FOR KANYE AS A JOKE.— most hated 𝒌𝒆𝒍𝒔𝒆𝒚²⁸ (@becauseoflwt) July 5, 2020
West has recently distanced himself from President Trump, with the lifestyle blog Highsnobiety even reporting that he had supposedly been faking his Trump support all along in order to get innocent Black prisoners out jail. (West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, an advocate for prison reform, met with Trump in 2018 to argue for the commutation of the sentences of Chris Young and Alice Marie Johnson, and she was instrumental in persuading Trump to support the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice bill passed by Congress in December 2018.) But West has certainly shown enthusiasm for Trump in the past, proudly wearing a “Make America Great Again” red hat and even meeting with the president on several occasions.
A representative for West did not immediately respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.
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