Kanye… 2020?


Photo credit: Fox Business

Braden Hajer, Columnist & Copy Editor

I can’t say I expected this to be a part of my Central Times experience, but here I am. A month after reviewing every Kanye West album in painstaking detail, the man “announces” he’s running for president.

However, we need to make one thing perfectly clear: as of writing this (July 5), Kanye West is not running… yet. He is not in the Federal Election Commission database as a candidate. He may never show up there, for all we know. Consistency between message and action has never been Kanye’s forte.

Beyond this, it’s too late for him to get on the ballot at all in a number of states. Essentially, Kanye West cannot, in any universe, win the 2020 election.

But what if he could? Let’s pretend that restriction doesn’t exist for the sake of this piece, because I want to play around with the ideas of both a Kanye campaign and a presidency.

Regardless of the previously mentioned realities, Kanye would need a miracle to win the 2020 election. You’d need both Biden and Trump to die or bow out of the election, and perhaps one of each. The DNC is not about to back down from Biden under any circumstance, seeing as they already did everything they could to get him here. You’d also need the chaos of Trump being suddenly out of the picture to discombobulate the Republican party enough to give Kanye a chance.

I think the absolute best thing that could happen to Kanye would be a Kanye-Pence matchup. Both deeply religious, Kanye has the advantage of connecting with the youth and possessing immense charisma relative to Pence while simultaneously not advocating for gay conversion therapy.

Kanye has a serious problem, though — his image. Kanye West is a volatile figure: he’s famously bipolar, all over the place, narcissistic, confusing and, to many, rude (for some reason many can never let go of the whole Taylor Swift fiasco from a decade ago). He’s somehow less qualified than the sitting president to hold the office.

He’s a “free-thinker,” often to a fault. Many voters will remember “Slavery was a choice! Abolish the 13th!” Many voters will remember him as a Trump-loving, MAGA hat-wearing Republican. Some will remember, or be informed and promptly horrified of, the lyrical themes to his work (the track “I’m In It” isn’t particularly presidential). None of this represents him now, but his past will haunt and cripple him in the 2020 election.

As it stands, the only power Kanye can ever have in the real, restricted upcoming election is not to win, but to prevent someone else from winning — namely, Biden. I have an extremely hard time believing any significant percentage of Trump voters would swap to voting for a Black rapper. As such, I personally urge you not to vote for him as a joke. Enough people with that mindset of “voting Kanye for the meme” could accidentally demolish this country.

That’s 2020, though. Given enough time to rebrand, I really believe Kanye West could have a shot in 2024, when he initially planned to run anyways. So what does that look like?

Unsurprisingly, probably dystopian. Kanye has evolved constantly through time, but one thing hasn’t changed: the man’s a narcissist. On a foreign policy level, that is not a good trait for America’s chief diplomat to have, as the past four years have shown us.

Having another self-centered, short-tempered, unqualified president could be disastrous for a country and world that is at a crossroads. Climate change, international tensions, the economic damage from the current pandemic that will assuredly not be fully fixed by then. Now is not the time for a man who thinks he has the answers with no reasoning behind them. Not to mention the dangers of having a wannabe theocrat pilot the United States of America.

However, there is the possibility that a silver lining exists. Take everything I say here with a grain of salt, of course. Kanye West has spent much of his life contemplating and rapping about racial injustices in America. The perspective of the man who wrote “New Slaves” could be legitimately valuable. There’s also a chance that he legitimately does defer to experts on many of today’s most pressing issues. He’s already deferred himself to God, after all.

Kanye West is, above all, an innovator, something America desperately needs right now. Is he THE innovator it needs? Likely not, but underestimating him has been proven time and time again to be a critical error.

For now, though, he’s an unqualified, largely unliked candidate who still hasn’t entered the race and has certainly announced it too late. Let’s wait for a Kanye 2024 instead.


The date is now July 8. A huge interview with Kanye was just released by Forbes where he gives his position on a number of issues and ideas.

I just have to say, I was right on a shocking number of things in the above piece. He asked Biden and Trump to bow out. He gave a number of insane (one might say, volatile) takes on things like vaccines. He came about as close to labeling himself a “theocrat” as one could without using the word. He gave a number of legitimately intelligent takes on race in America. He said he would defer to experts on issues he didn’t feel knowledgeable enough about (one of those being taxes). He said he was going to redesign the country, not bring policy proposals to the table.

I highly recommend you read the interview, as it’s equal parts absolutely hilarious and worrying, but just know that voting for him is still a terrible plan.