Kanye is like the David Koresh of hip-hop in that, much like the infamous cult leader, Kanye can do absolutely no wrong in the eyes of his most ardent fans. So I suppose one should not be surprised that he has plenty of people encouraging him to truly run for president. Enter his recent interview with Vanity Fair, when he is asked about his presidential ambitions in the most flattering of ways.
The interviewer referred to Kanye’s teasing about seeking the highest public office with this: “When you said that at the VMAs, I thought the reaction was surprising. People didn’t seem to dismiss the idea. You would have thought there would be more of an outcry.”
This is what I get for using my inside voice when protesting.
In response, Kanye noted he was indeed running and added, “I want everyone to win. When I run for president, I’d prefer not to run against someone. I would be like, ‘I want to work with you.’”
I assume Kanye has been watching a lot of Sesame Street with his kid, thus his “everyone gets a participation award”-like answer about running for office.
Then Kanye provided a very clear example of why he doesn’t need to ever be on any political party’s presidential-debate stage: “As soon as I heard [Ben] Carson speak, I tried for three weeks to get on the phone with him. I was like, ‘This is the most brilliant guy.’”
Can everyone do me a favor and please reconsider your encouragement of Kanye, presidential candidate?
The man thinks Ben Carson is brilliant. In 2015. Is this the person you want representing your interests in a national election?
Carson may be a brain surgeon, but he’s also the man who has likened Obamacare to slavery; rationalized that prison is proof that homosexuality is a choice; waxed about how political correctness in America makes our society akin to Nazi Germany; and claimed that Advanced Placement history makes students want to sign up for the Islamic State group.
Additionally, Carson has shown up to more than one Republican presidential primary debate without the slightest idea of how government works. There’s also his most recent controversy: publicly stating that he would not support a Muslim presidential candidate.
That is the man Kanye West finds “brilliant.” Then again, Kanye West and Ben Carson have a lot in common in that they both make comments that should have been relegated to a journal that had a hot date with a lit chimney. Like their shared sentiment that racism no longer plays as great a role as it once did.
Here’s Ben Carson on the differences between the GOP and the Democrats on handling race: “I think the Republicans have done a far superior job of getting over racism.” Like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush saying he plans to offer black voters “hope” as opposed to “free stuff.”
Equally delusional, Kanye was quoted describing racism as a “dated concept,” explaining: “It’s not an actual thing that even means anything. You know—it’s something that was used to hold people back in the past. But now there’s been so many leaps and breaking of the rules that it’s, like, played out, like a style from the 1800s or something.”
Except whenever black people try to actually vote in elections. By the way, Kanye is also the person who reportedly gave his blessing to A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou’s choice to include the word “n—ga” in a fall menswear presentation.
Kanye West’s and Ben Carson’s shared obtuse observations on the state of racism in society remind me that if he actually ran, Kanye would be nothing more than a presumably Democratic version of Carson and Herman Cain. Do we really need that?
Kanye went on to say in his Vanity Fair interview: “I sit in clubs and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’ve got five years before I go and run for office and I’ve got a lot of research to do, I’ve got a lot of growing up to do.’”
My concern here is that we live in a climate where this is so completely plausible. If you love Kanye, though, you’ll tell him to take an extended study break and go finish his forthcoming album, Swish. He will not be the “hip-hop Trump.” We don’t need that anyway.
Say what you will about Donald Trump (I certainly have), but New York magazine’s Frank Rich does a remarkable job of explaining how his presidential run will actually help our democracy in that it exposes so many of its current problems. We won’t need another reminder from Kanye in 2020. And if the VMAs were any indication of a potential stump speech, Yeezus will make Trump look like a policy wonk.
Besides, Melissa Beck has already written all of the opposition research every one of Kanye’s would-be opponents would need to destroy him.
If there’s any celebrity who can run for president, I’d go with John Legend. Kanye can score the song that Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, two-step to at the inauguration. Beyond that, Kanye, go back to making music and “designing” torn-up, overpriced sweatshirts.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.