Taking Kanye West Seriously Is Hard — But Holding Him Accountable Seems Even Harder
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Taking Kanye West Seriously Is Hard — But Holding Him Accountable Seems Even Harder

Whether being used as a political pawn or giving cover to racists and fools, his antics aren’t just harming himself anymore

Last week, Kanye West relieved himself on one of his Grammys and declared himself “the new Moses” on Twitter. By now, that’s par for the course for the rapper/producer/designer/pretend politician; some of the gems from this latest stream of consciousness have since disappeared from his timeline, though I’m certain his stans (the Yeezettes are what I’m calling them this quarter) will remind us of what took place that day from now until climate change completely wipes us out. While what constitutes political candidate behavior has shifted over the last four years, aren’t y’all tired of thinking about presidential hopefuls and pee?

Technically, the tirade was part of a new crusade against his record company and publishing company, complete with the name-dropping (Jay Z, J. Cole, Drake) and delusions of grandeur (“I’m Nat Turner”) we’ve come to expect. “I’m the second richest Black man in America,” he wrote in a deleted tweet. “ I need all my people with me for us to get free.” Yes, Kanye West is a billionaire, which in 2020 isn’t really a thing to harp about given how such wealth is typically accumulated — but even if that remains your thing, I expect more from a free Black man than to be a White man’s pawn during a plague.

I have no real standards by which to judge him as a presidential candidate, but I’ve also never taken his run seriously as a potential spoiler — someone who could draw away just enough votes from would-be Democrats to throw the race to Trump. Only White people in media who don’t know any Black people outside the internet could have believed that West could sway the 2020 election. I mean, we can always count on a few rappers to disappoint (Chance the Rapper, DaBaby, and 2 Chainz pitched in), but how racist can you be to think Black folks are that fucking gullible?

For all his money, you would think someone would help him find something better to do with his time than engage in what sounds a lot like election fraud — especially election fraud that aids in the reelection of President Trump, racism’s laziest success story.

In the July interview with Forbes where he first talked about his political aspirations, West made it clear that his candidacy couldn’t be for real. He mentioned that he’d never voted before, he alleged that Planned Parenthood was placed in cities by White supremacists and voiced various anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories, and he promised to manage the country like Wakanda. (At least the last of those maybe impressed T.I.) And again, he admitted his sole intent for running is to play the role of spoiler. When asked about trying to hurt Biden’s chances, West declared, “I’m not denying it; I just told you.”

Good for him, but Black people have had enough dumb-ass men who don’t read become president for one lifetime. But for further confirmation that West’s spoiler potential is a figment of clueless folks’ imaginations, he only notched 2% Black support in a Politico/Morning Consult poll taken in August. I highly doubt screaming about abortions at random will jolt that support anytime soon. And as others have pointed out, the survey suggests that Trump would stand to lose more voters from a West candidacy than Biden would.

Whether most care to admit it is besides the point: If there is one constant about Kanye West throughout most of his public career, it is that he will go above and beyond to aid a racist when duty calls.

Yes, for a few seconds in 2005, West declared the obvious about George W. Bush and a legend was born — but there have long been hints that he might be Ben Carson with soul beats. And like Carson, Kanye West has also long given White folks’ racist behavior the most questionable of passes. Now a number of Republicans are trying to use him for their own ends — as the New York Times reported in August, an election lawyer who’s worked for the Trump campaign and the former executive director of the American Conservative Union were among those working to get West on the ballot in various states.

For all his money, you would think someone would help him find something better to do with his time than engage in what sounds a lot like election fraud — especially election fraud that aids in the reelection of President Trump, racism’s laziest success story. In August, Illinois and New Jersey determined that most of the signatures submitted as part of West’s petition to get on each state’s ballot were invalid. In September, judges in Virginia, Arizona, and Wisconsin did the same.

But what Kanye West lacks in credibility as a presidential candidate doesn’t mean he doesn’t hold some sway with people.

I love pretending most of the current Black mascots for White supremacy don’t exist, but thanks to tweets like this — and Facebook in general — they’re unavoidable. More and more, people have been asking me about Candace Owens and other political jokes West co-signs. And in some cases, I get even more horror upon hearing that they’ve been swayed by such deluded rantings before I get a chance to re-sway them with actual facts.

Beyond the like-minded fools West introduces his flock to, what’s truly appalling is West willingly helping the people actively trying to kill Black people in this country get four more years to finish the job.

Jared Kushner reportedly abandoned all plans for nationwide testing once he realized who was actually dying from Covid-19. According to reporting, he described New York’s plight in March as “their problem.” This is who Kanye West not only refers to as “my boy,” but has met with repeatedly about his presidential bid. It’s as immoral as it is likely illegal, but what’s most depressing about it is that I know it won’t hurt him.

No matter what he does or says or associates himself with, the cult of personality he has constructed seems to prevent him from ever facing any real consequence. He acts like a White evangelical, but because the choir sings the melodies of ’90s R&B acts, most look the other away. He grovels before Trump, and everyone buys his shoes and continues to stream him. Black Republicans have never had it this good. (You know Stacey Dash can’t believe this shit, but that’s on her for trusting the patriarchy.)

West’s plan to be president may be a joke — and, based on more reporting from the New York Times, a good hustle for both political parties — but I believe the intent behind his campaign warrants reckoning all the same. Yet that won’t actually happen.

The ability to get away with anything — thanks in large part to enablers who were so desperate for power that they swallowed whatever he served them — helped make Donald Trump president. It won’t do the same for Kanye West, but just because he might not be sitting in the Oval Office doesn’t mean that he won’t cause damage in other ways. Before Donald Trump became the ultimate nightmare as president, he used the undeserved political capital he gained based on his celebrity to wreak plenty of havoc along the way.

Kanye West is dying to follow in his footsteps, but thankfully the missteps of one dumb, incurious celebrity president has made it all the more difficult for like-minded fools to follow.