Kanye West announced over the weekend that he intends to launch a late, long-shot bid for the presidency, a run that would pit him against President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. It’s not the first time ‘Ye has said he wants to take a shot at the highest office in the land, but the July 4 tweet appeared to be his most serious effort yet to throw his MAGA hat into the ring.
Said Ye in his Independence Day announcement: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future.”
The attempt is quirkier still given the fact that West has ardently voiced his full-throated support for Trump in the past and proudly worn his red Make American Great Again cap. There’s also the not-unimportant detail that his entry into the race comes at a late stage in the more than year-long thinning of the large herd that was the Democratic hopefuls.
“It’s certainly the latest I can remember … because third-party candidates usually try to get in early and get on the ballot in all the states,” Robert Y. Shapiro, Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government and Professor of International and Public Affairs in the Columbia University Department of Political Science, tells Billboard about Ye’s late announcement.
The rapper’s sudden entry also raises a number of questions for Shapiro about motivation. There’s suspicion that it could be a public relations stunt to draw attention to the artist in the absence of any stated political agenda or cause that West wishes to support.
More important, Ye — who has not revealed details about what, if any, political organizing he’s done to launch his bid for office — has missed the filing deadline to appear on the ballot as an independent candidate in at least six states, according to Ballotpedia. Among those are such crucial states as New York and Texas, as well as North Carolina, Maine, New Mexico and Indiana.