It’s easy to assume that the political world disdains or ignores pop culture. But when one of the world’s biggest rap stars announces he’s running for president, even the most hardened critics sit up and take notice.
Such was the case on Sunday night when Kanye West said he will throw his hat in the ring for president in 2020. West made the bizarre announcement at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. The event is not typically on the radar of the D.C. political class, but political Twitter lit up nonetheless with plenty of serious and un-serious reaction to the idea of a Kanye candidacy. As our colleagues over at The Fix point out, politics as entertainment seems to be approaching its peak.
— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) August 31, 2015
West mentioned his desire to run for president offhandedly while accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, the VMA’s biggest honor.
“I don’t know what I stand to lose after this, it don’t matter though, because it ain’t about me, it’s about new ideas, bro, new idea. People with ideas, people who believe in truth,” he said. “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
A moment later, West seemed to admit he was high. “Y’all might be thinking right now, ‘I wonder, did he smoke something before he came out here?’ And the answer is yes, I rolled up a little something, I knocked the edge off.”
Maybe that explains it.
Kanye 2020 will have by far the best ropeline music in presidential history
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) August 31, 2015
The idea of Kanye running for president is less difficult to imagine in the age of Donald Trump. Political observers keep waiting for Trump to drop out. Some assume his bid is a stunt. But given the massive publicity surrounding the former reality TV star’s campaign, it’s not hard to believe there are other celebrities out there thinking they should give politics a try.
Not that West needs the PR boost. He seems to have that part figured out.
Kanye is either a Republican or thinks Hillary will lose, or thinks her first term will be a failure. #2020
— Rory Cooper (@rorycooper) August 31, 2015
So @kanyewest says he's running for prez in 2020–why wait??
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) August 31, 2015
So will he or won’t he? Unlikely but impossible to know for sure. Political journalists were quick to joke about the chances:
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) August 31, 2015
But, of course, the best punchlines come from the truth:
— Greg Giroux (@greggiroux) August 31, 2015
As a bonus, there is already a Kanye West Wing Tumblr. Here come the memes: