If Kanye West is truly serious about running for president in 2020, he’ll likely have to do so as a write-in candidate.
As Kanye will be neither the nominee of the Democrat or Republican party, he’d instead run as an independent or third party candidate. And as an independent or third party candidate, Kanye would not be guaranteed a spot on every state’s ballot: Each state has is own individual rules for getting on its ballot, including requiring a certain number of signatures. Obtaining such signatures in the middle of a pandemic would be a difficult enough proportion, but he would also have to do so in an extremely short timeframe.
Each state has a deadline for filing to run for president, and several of those deadlines have already passed. It’s too late to get on the ballot in Indiana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Texas, according to Ballotpedia. Meanwhile, the deadlines for Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, and South Carolina are just two weeks away.
If Kanye’s name isn’t listed on a state’s ballot, voters would specifically have to write in his name in order to vote for him.
Then there’s the issue of Kanye’s existing contractual obligations. Most notably, Kanye recently struck a 10-year deal with Gap to become the company’s creative partner. Under terms of the deal, Kanye is expected to launch his initial product line in early 2021. Gap is hoping that Kanye’s involvement will generate $1 billion in annual sales within the next five years.
While Kanye could table the deal in favor of a presidential run, being creative director of the Gap has been his life-long dream and it’s hard to see him jeopardizing it, even for the White House
All that’s to say, Kanye’s presidential candidacy faces a number of obstacles from the very onset, and we haven’t even mentioned the massive amount of money and infrastructure required to mount such a campaign. He has no staff, no defined policy platform. Donald Trump may have set a new standard for individuals being unqualified and unfit for president, but even he had at least some semblance of a campaign apparatus prior to launching his presidential bid.
Given Kanye’s impulsive nature, logic would suggest he didn’t consider many of these aforementioned points prior to firing off his Independence Day tweet announcing his candidacy. Once he realizes just how daunting of a proposition such a run would be, it’s likely he’ll abandon the idea outright. Cynics could also argue that he’s simply attempting to drum up publicity on the heels of new music being released.
But if Kanye is sincere about his desire to pursue the Oval Office, he does have a few things in his favor. He and his wife are both massively wealthy with universal name recognition and Trump-esque social media clout. As a Black born-again Christian, he would appeal to unique swath of demographics. And he already has the backing of at least one wealthy benefactor in Space X founder Elon Musk.
Presumably we’ll learn more about Kanye’s true intentions in the coming days, but the mere prospect of his presidential run is enough to have both Republicans and Democrats going to sleep on Independence Day asking the question: What if?