EDITOR NOTE: As of July 15, Kanye West has reportedly dropped out of the presidential race, although he has not publicly commented on the campaign. The Federal Election Committee has, however, received the first of the necessary paperwork required to run for the office.
On July 4, Kanye West announced his plans to run in the 2020 presidential election. His actions were met with both mockery and excitement.
To say Twitter reacted is an understatement. The post instantly went viral, with more than 100,000 retweets within an hour. West quickly trended as No. 1 on Twitter in the U.S.
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
Twitter user @Leslieoo7 replied to Musk, “What is this, the Blessed Covenant of Malignant Narcissists?”
A few days before his announcement, West shared a photo with Musk and captioned it: “When you go to your boys house and you’re both wearing orange.”
When you go to your boys house and you’re both wearing orange 🍊 pic.twitter.com/IyPOdEKaVY
— ye (@kanyewest) July 1, 2020
SAINT tweeted at West, “and can @elonmusk be your VP?” accompanied with this same photo.
Host of “Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast” Marques Brownlee tweeted in response to the initial post: “I think you might be a tiny bit late for this election.” To which another twitter user, Aiden Kauffman, replied tweeting, “call it a late registration,” referring to West’s second album, “Late Registration.”
The rapper has hinted at his run for president for a while now. The first time was in 2015. He said he was running for president in 2020 during the Video Music Awards while accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
“I don’t know what I finna lose after this. It don’t matter, though; it’s not about me. It’s about ideas. New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth,” West said toward the end of his speech. “And yes, as you probably could’ve guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
Then, in 2019, West reiterated his intent to run during the annual Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York City. This time he said he would run for president in the 2024 election.
The audience laughed at him. “What ya’ll laughing at?” West said.“We would create so many jobs! I’m not going to run; I’m going to walk.”
Kim Kardashian West replied to her husband’s initial tweet with an American flag emoji. Twitter users also spoke about the reality star, expressing their disappointment in the potential of Kardashian West being the first lady.
Twitter user @ryan_sethi tweeted, “YES SHE WILL BE THE FIRST LADY! WHAT A JOKE LMAO!” accompanied with a photo of Kardashian West wearing a revealing black dress.
Another user, @B52Malmet, tweeted a dig at both our current first lady, Melania Trump, and Kardashian West: “I know that Melania has lowered the bar for First Lady but I don’t know Kim can slither under it.”
Several accused West of only running to gain publicity. Twitter user @BoboBrazil3 tweeted, “he must have a new album coming and wants free publicity.”
Another user, @_ReaalAmerican_, tweeted, “Anything for press. This family is garbage.”
Even Perez Hilton tweeted out a gif that said, “any publicity is good publicity.”
In Forbes, West denied only running for publicity and said he planned to give his upcoming album away for free.
Other responses accused him of using his campaign to help President Donald Trump get reelected for a second term.
Twitter user Kerry Davidson tweeted, “The goal is to take away black voters from Biden, handing Trump a victory. This is by design. Also note, Elon Musk was very quick to endorse him.”
Another user, @murray_nyc, agreed, “OBVIOUS ‘PLAN’ West is a Trump supporter. This stunt is likely a pact between Trump & West to try to pull votes from Biden. Who is the likely focus? Black voters. It’s an insult to black voters to think they would automatically vote for West solely based on race. #Biden2020.”
To which another user, @The_BrownNubian, tweeted in reply to @murray_nyc, “It’s an insult to blacks to think they would solely vote Democrat based on their race!”
West said something similar in his interview with Forbes.
When asked about Joe Biden, he said, “A lot of times just like political parties they feel all Blacks have to be Democrat. This man, Joe Biden, said if you don’t vote for me, then you are not Black. Well, act like we didn’t hear that? We act like we didn’t hear that man say that? That man said that. It’s a rap.”
In the past few years, West has been public about his support for President Donald Trump.
Trump even said West “could very well be” a future presidential candidate.
Some users were happy about the rapper’s potential to steal votes away from Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
@KayaJones tweeted, “Thank you for taking votes away from Biden and helping @realDonaldTrump get re-elected! #Trump2020Landslide.” According to her Twitter bio, she is on the Trump Campaign Advisory Board.
Regardless, a Federal Election Commission spokesperson said West has not filed any necessary paperwork to make his running official.
His announcement has also been met with support.
Twitter user @ShmurdaBobbyGS9 tweeted, “You got my vote king #Kanye2020.”
Another user, @DaveHolloway45, tweeted, “I’m with you sir, I love what you stand for. Thank you!!”
Some users just tweeted out memes.
— Blame the powerful. (@NeverPunchDown) July 5, 2020
Others questioned his seriousness in running. Twitter user @DavidLoydGeo11 tweeted, “IM GENUINELY NOT SURE IF THIS A JOKE OR NOT AT THIS POINT.”
Another user, Daisy, tweeted, “I didn’t know Kanye became a comedian.”
Regardless of the publicity and accusations of plotting to help Trump win, what are the chances of Kanye making it to the presidential ballot this fall?
The California-based musician currently “has built no campaign infrastructure and has hired no staff.”
West has also missed the filing deadlines in Indiana, Texas, New Mexico and North Carolina for independent candidates. Other states’ deadlines are also approaching, such as Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and New York.
“Candidates who’ve won the presidency tend to have gotten into the race much sooner than this,” the FEC spokesperson said to Billboard. “If you’re running for any federal office, four months out seems pretty late based on my experience.”
West will also need to get thousands of signatures from almost every state to gain ballot access.
“Let’s see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it’s 2024 — because God appoints the president. If I win in 2020 then it was God’s appointment. If I win in 2024 then that was God’s appointment,” he said to Forbes.