On 4th July, Kanye West lit up Twitter with an announcement: He is running for president in the 2020 election. Although the rapper has been vocal about his plans to run in 2024, no one expected him to make a play for the Oval Office this late into the election. But alas, here we are.
In an interview with Forbes, West detailed his presidential plans and running platforms, including protecting America in whatever foreign policy he pursues, implementing the “framework of Wakanda” as a management model, and having serious reservations about a coronavirus vaccine. “It’s so many of our children that are being vaccinated and paralysed...So when they say the way we’re going to fix Covid is with a vaccine, I’m extremely cautious,” West told Forbes. “That’s the mark of the beast. They want to put chips inside of us.”
But perhaps the most shocking thing, aside from the presidential run itself, is West’s party affiliation for 2020. Although West said he intended to run as the Republican candidate if Donald Trump wasn’t the incumbent, he is now running under a different party: the "Birthday Party."
Even though, according to West, he only registered to vote earlier this week, he has publicly supported Trump and many Republican party ideals in recent years. Not much is known about the Birthday Party and what it supports other than the beliefs West espoused in the interview and that it came about through the guidance of Elon Musk and Michelle Tidball, a preacher from Wyoming who will run with West as vice president. But why the Birthday Party? “Because when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday,” West told Forbes.
“I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in a bunker,” West said of Trump when asked about his decision to run. Even with his lost faith in Trump, many are wondering if it's even possible for West to run for president this late in the game, and under this "party." Technically it is possible, though the details around it are questionable. He cannot run as a Democrat or Republican because both parties have put forth candidates, with Joe Biden as the presumed Democratic nominee and Donald Trump running for a second term.
However, the option to run as an Independent — or under an Independent party name — still stands, so long as filing deadlines have no passed. But some deadlines to run have passed in multiple states including Texas, New Mexico, Indiana, Maine, and North Carolina. The deadline for the majority of other states is in August, which gives West a short window to get everything together.
In order to get on the ballot as an independent, West would also need to quickly gather tens of thousands of signatures from across the US to qualify. Each state has specific requirements for prospective candidates to gain what is known as “ballot access.” To run as an Independent, some states require candidates to petition. So, as it stands, lot of hoops need to be jumped through before someone can see their name on the ballot.
But this doesn't come as much of a surprise late in the game, nor does West's conviction to run for president in 2020. West’s sudden bid for the presidency is, at least in talk, years in the making. At the 2015 VMAs, West referenced his future campaign while accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president,” said West before exiting the stage.