President Donald Trump and Kanye West
Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

I almost made it. I had declared a personal moratorium on think pieces, social commentary or public statements about Kanye West. He’s a jackass, to quote Barack Obama, and unless you want to talk about 808s & Heartbreak or The Life of Pablo, I have basically refused to discuss his two-week cosplay as Stephen from Django Unchained. In my mind, Kanye and I had an unwritten, unspoken and telepathic deal. I wouldn’t comment on his Olympic-level swan dive into the sunken place, and he would stay out of any real politics.

Unfortunately, our deal was undone thanks to Republican Danny Tarkanian, a perpetual candidate and racist gadfly running in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District against Democrat Susie Lee. Tarkanian decided to do a local radio interview last week and praise West, which unfortunately is a sign that the rapper’s idiotic influence has seeped down into the midterm muck.

Last Wednesday, Tarkanian and his wife and former Nevada GOP chair, Amy, sat down for a long, inane interview with local conservative radio host Kevin Wall to discuss the campaign, his policies and, of course, West. Because that’s exactly what anybody should care about when running for a district that represents large swaths of Southern Las Vegas and the metro area. First, Tarkanian starts off by blaming West’s ridiculous anti-historical, racist and uninformed tomfoolery on the “left.”

“Look, I think this is a typical left tactic where they take something that you may not have said as clear—Kanye should have said as clearly as he should have. And they’ve completely twisted it around,” he says.

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On this, Tarkanian was right. It’s terrible when the “left” keeps twisting things around. Especially on race. For example, in 2012, Tarkanian ran against former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford for the newly created Nevada 4th Congressional District. Horsford happens to be a black guy. Tarkanian had a lot to say about competing against a black opponent in a district with a significant number of black voters.

“We could be like Steven Horsford, who’s not doing anything with that community [black folks], and, you know, pretend we’re black and maybe try to get some votes, if that’s where it is,” Tarkanian said out loud in America.

Tarkanian lost by 8 percentage points, so apparently Horsford, an actual black man, was better at pretending to be black than Tarkanian. Silly liberals for viewing his statement as racially insensitive.

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In 2016, Tarkanian still wasn’t over it and blamed his loss in 2012 on “the blacks,” which again brought condemnation from those crazy liberals who twisted his words. I mean, can you think of anyone who uses the term “the blacks” and has anything but positive feelings toward the African-American community?

With this as Tarkanian’s background, is there any wonder that he would be back at it, telling anyone in listening range that West was a brave soul and hero and that the rapper’s embrace of white nationalist symbolism and politicians and his “slavery was a choice” statement were acts of bravery? He continued:

If you heard what he said first where he’s talking about 400 years. And he’s not—he says it’s not really slavery, it’s a prison. And what he was referring to, because he clarified it today, or that I read it today at least, that he meant that they have a choice of belonging just to the Democrat Party and being enslaved under those principles. And he doesn’t believe that those principles are what’s best for the black—the African-American party right now. So what, what is—what was wrong with that statement except he was bold enough to say it and take the wrath of the African-American community? I think he showed great courage doing so.

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I’m not shocked by this. Racist white Americans are always happy to heap praise upon black folks—whether Clarence Thomas, Diamond and Silk, Ward Connerly (remember him?) or most black talking heads on Fox News—who will do their rhetorical dirty work for them. More important, I’m not that worried about what a politician like Danny Tarkanian will do. He’s been listed as “On the Radar” by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which sounds like a mixture between academic probation and an admonishment from a stern librarian. While he’s won five Republican nominations, he never wins the general election. Tarkanian has been shot down by Nevada voters more times than DJ Khaled at a Women’s March.

Brandon Cox, the Susie Lee for Congress campaign manager, said as much in a statement after the radio interview: “As someone who has spent over a decade running failed political campaigns and is now running for Congress again, admittedly against his own wishes, Mr. Tarkanian should focus less on TMZ and more on listening to the Nevada voters who have repeatedly rejected him.”

I’m not sure if this is left-wing bias or not, but I’m pretty sure a combination of “the blacks” and his own horribleness all but guarantee that Tarkanian loses this fall to Susie Lee. Kanye West won’t be there to save him, either. Unfortunately, that still leaves me with the increasing presence of the “alt-right’s” favorite college dropout.

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I don’t want West to become a part of the political lexicon for the 2018 midterms. I don’t want West to become the go-to black person for racially insensitive candidates to spew their nonsense on the airwaves. I most definitely do not want to be forced to write think pieces about his terrible behavior for the next several months because he has wormed his way into local races like the infectious beats he used to be able to make before he crashed and burned.

In other words, I’m just hoping that Tarkanian is a one-off and that somehow, Trumpian bigoted candidates will find somebody else to sample during this campaign season. I don’t need this “poopity scoop” ruining what might already be a crazy-enough campaign season.