On Sunday night, Kanye West got a five-year jump on the next presidential election. "I have decided in 2020 to run for president," he said, after accepting a lifetime achievement prize at the MTV Video Music Awards. "It ain’t about me, it’s about new ideas, bro, new ideas. People with ideas, people who believe in truth."
West, at 38, is both old enough to meet the constitutional requirements of the presidency, and slightly young to be receiving recognition for "lifetime achievement." His announcement moved Eugene Craig, a black Republican activist from Maryland, to create a new PAC: Ready for Kanye.
"If Mr. West is to seek the presidency in 2020, and if there is no incumbent Republican president, I would absolutely encourage him to run," said Craig, 24, who has already created a Facebook group for the cause. "I think he will bring an interesting dialogue to our party, and he'll find a lot of people who want that dialogue. He’s pointed out the crippling racial disparities in the law and the economy. He’s talked about the pipeline of private prisons. He's a genuine entrepreneur. Oh, not to mention that his first big single was 'Jesus Walks.'"
Craig also runs the Young Minority Republicans Fund, but said his filing was totally separate from his work for Maryland's GOP. He was a fan on a mission. His favorite Kanye album was My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; his favorite Kanye song was "Never Let You Down." And his favorite cause was introducing the Republican Party to skeptics.
"I think he’s a musical genius," said Craig. "I think it’s unfortunate that one segment of the world was introduced to him by Hurricane Katrina, and one segment of the world introduced him when he took the mic from Taylor Swift."
The founding of Ready for Kanye comes at a fertile time for offbeat PACs and FEC filings. The unexpected popularity of Deez Nuts, a 22-year old joke that an Iowa teenager turned into a "candidate," has inspired hundreds of new "bozo PACs" and fake candidates. Craig insisted that his PAC was different, and would be "gathering data, gathering info" on people inspired to follow West -- whatever party he joined, whether or not he ran.
"He’s been critical of President Bush; he’s been critical of President Obama," said Craig. "You know, we’ll find out when we reach out."