As Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination earlier this year, my jokes about ‘Kanye 2020’ went from being 100 percent laughing to “Hey, guys, if Donald Trump can get this far so could someone like Kanye.”
Since Donald Trump won the presidency? All bets are off.
Politics has finally succumbed to our reality TV celebrity culture, it seems. People loved The Donald on his NBC primetime show, The Apprentice, for more than a decade. And the now President-elect benefitted greatly early on from his celebrity status. Drawing eyes to the first debate in August 2015 in record numbers and never say “the crowds” weren’t at first a large draw due to the same.
In October (oh, October) I wrote here about the reasons why Kanye could win the Republican nomination in 2020, assuming Hillary won.
I’ve contended that Donald Trump and Kanye have so much in common that if he decides to run in 2020 — which he’s insisted he will — he could win. Not only that, but I think he could be molded into the perfect conservative candidate many have opined for. Here’s why:
Personality – When it comes to larger-than-life, over-the-top egotistical personalities there are few that are up to The Donald’s level, but Kanye is one of them. He’s brash, bombastic and while he famously crashed Taylor Swift winning a Best Music Video award at the VMAs and feminists hate him for his lyrics, he has a softer side that he shows when he posts selfies with his wife, Kim or their two children, North and Saint.
Reality TV Series – Ah, yes, the medium that launched Donald Trump into being a favorite of the masses will be the thing that will bring out the non-political, independent first-time voters that catapulted Trump to the top of the Republican ticket this year. Kanye married into reality TV royalty when he and Kim Kardashian tied the knot. Keeping Up with the Kardashians has been incredibly popular with women (!) and Millennials — the largest voting bloc in 2020 — for the past decade. People might point out that Kim K became famous from a sex video, but as we now know, a candidate’s spouse’s indiscretions mean nothing post 2016.
Twitter – Like his would-be predecessor, Kanye has a penchant for going on bizarre Twitter ramblings. On the positive side, he’s not all bullying and insults. He’s even more unintentionally amusing than Trump when he does things like tweet at Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg asking him to give him money. At least he admits when he doesn’t have enough!
Cultish Tagalong Voting Bloc – Kanye fans are diehards. Lines for merchandise alone at his concerts take hours. They’re often unruly, fanatical, and not the brightest bulbs around, but they’re loyal. And if there’s anything that will get Kanye the nomination more than anything else, it’s engendering solid loyalty from a portion of the electorate.
Political Background – Kanye is an avowed Democrat. Doesn’t matter. Yes, he said President George W. Bush hated black people! Doesn’t matter. Trump accused George W. Bush of lying to start the Iraq war and not doing enough to prevent 9/11 throughout the primaries. In the Post-Trump Age you don’t have to like the policies or the people who make up the Republican caucus in any level of government. In fact, the nominee can even actively try to unseat fellow Republicans and plenty of people, no matter how “conservative” they claim to be will fully endorse.
And just imagine the speeches in rap rhymes!
As for Kanye’s ideology, that doesn’t matter either. As with Trump we just need to make Kanye’s statements mean whatever we want them to. If he outright disavows a belief of ours, we’ll just say “he doesn’t mean that.” He’s as conservative and Republican as we each would want our dream candidate to be. Honestly, getting to turn your brain off and stop doing any deep thinking will be a blessed relief for those of us who have been tortured with pointing out inconsistencies and watching the spin and lies.
Add to all that the fact that after the election Kanye told a crowd at a concert that he would have voted for Donald Trump if he’d bothered to vote at all.
Despite West’s recent mental health issues and hospitalization, these things — admittedly some are presented rather flippantly — are still true about the similarities between Donald Trump and Kanye West. Particularly their popularity in the current celebrity culture in the U.S. today.
But it’s not just about Kanye. Insert the pop culture personality of choice with dreams of seeing their MTV Cribs episode taking place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
If Oprah decides to run as a Democrat in 2020, does she lose the party’s nomination? Doubtful.
From all we’ve seen in 2016, we should all expect that in today’s America (let alone in eight years) should someone like Kanye or Oprah choose to run for president there’s almost nothing that points to them not being able to clinch the nomination and win the White House.