A month ago, Forbes published their exclusive interview with Kanye West where he talked about politics and his 2020 “presidential run.” I barely engaged with that interview because as soon as I saw a handful of highlights, I knew that Kanye was in the middle of another manic episode. The Forbes piece felt massively exploitative of Kanye’s unwell mind. Also exploitative? The fact that Trump-supporting political operatives are working on Kanye’s campaign and working to get him on various state ballots because they think Kanye will siphon voters from Joe Biden. In the Forbes piece last month, Kanye basically admitted that he was perfectly fine with being used by the Trump campaign too. So Forbes contacted him yesterday by text to see if he had anything new to say. Keep in mind that Kanye is currently in some kind of “fortress” in the Caribbean, supposedly working on his marriage:
Amid various reports that Republican and Trump-affiliated political operatives are trying to get Kanye West onto various state ballots for November’s presidential election, the billionaire rap superstar indicated, in an interview by text today, that he was in fact running to siphon votes from the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden.
Asked about that directly, West said that rather than running for president, he was “walking,” quickly adding that he was “walking . . . to win.” When it was pointed out that he actually can’t win in 2020—that he won’t be on enough ballots to yield 270 electoral votes, and that a write-in campaign isn’t feasible—and thus was serving as a spoiler, West replied: “I’m not going to argue with you. Jesus is King.”
West rebuffed various attempts to clarify who was driving his ballot access or strategy and whether it’s being coordinated by or with Republican-affiliated officials. He does, however, appear to have a continuing relationship with the Trump White House. West says that he’s “designing a school within the next month” and that “I’m meeting with Betsy DeVos about the post-Covid curriculum.” (The Secretary of Education’s press office hadn’t responded to a request for comment by the time we published.)
“I like Kanye very much,” President Trump told reporters at the White House yesterday. “No, I have nothing to do with him getting on the ballot. We’ll have to see what happens.”
West did not respond when asked whether he feels he’s being used. When I pointed out to West that the slapdash operation to get him on the ballot, which includes one operative previously arrested for voter fraud and multiple West “electors” from the same address, didn’t feel like a Kanye West production, West replied that it was a “God production.”
There is no good or generous reading here. We could say “poor Kanye is being used by these unhinged Trump operatives,” but I don’t even think that’s all that’s happening. I think Kanye made a deal with the Trump campaign to “run,” and he’s just sitting back and letting the Trumpers do all of the work. It’s beyond an ego trip – it’s just plain campaign fraud, exploitation and about a dozen other problematic things.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid and Avalon Red.