Social media exploded yesterday when American rapper Kanye West announced his plans to run for President in the upcoming 2020 elections. While this is not the first time the performer has made similar admissions, his tweet ignited heated debates over the current course of American democracy.
Donald Trump's populist presidency has exacerbated the deepening gap in American societal divisions. His exorbitant persona, coupled with frequent 180-degrees shifts in policy direction, has divided opinions of American voters, which, in turn, has left open a gaping hole in the current state of US politics. The latter can be filled by a methodical president who is consistent in his or her actions. Something that Donald Trump clearly is not.
Instead of highlighting this gaping hole, however, Trump's tumultuous run in the White House has only proven the potential for boisterous politics under the current environment. The era of populism has cleared the way for incoherent governance.
Kanye West's pledge to run for President would have sounded quite hilarious four years ago when Barack Obama was stepping down from the Oval Office; yet, the political landscape has changed quite dramatically since then. People still find the proclamation of 'Yeezus' funny, but they are laughing with restlessness and anxiety. That is so because deep down, centrists know that Ye's chances of snatching a surprising victory in a theoretical race with the likes of Trump are not so far-fetched now.
It is fair to say that the biggest legacy that Trump's days in Washington would leave is uncertainty. Uncertainty at the governing level at times when the US, and the rest of the world for that matter, arguably face the most precarious challenge seen in over a decade. This erratic environment spurs confusion, which is where populism thrives.
Whether or not Kanye would make a good president is almost irrelevant. He still hasn't signed with the Federal Election Commission, which means that his plans to run in November are mostly whimsical, and could potentially serve to promote his upcoming album. Nevertheless, it is the fact that they even received as much attention as they did in an election year in which Joe Biden runs against Donald Trump that is so troubling.
West's tweet took centre stage in media discussions yesterday, thereby temporarily shifting the focus away from the campaigns of Biden and Trump. This is quite telling of the underlying divisions of public opinions that continue to plague a nation divided by the controversial response to the coronavirus epidemic coupled with ongoing racial tensions.
We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States 🇺🇸! #2020VISION— ye (@kanyewest) July 5, 2020
Now, we ain't sayin' Kanye is exploitin' the underlyin' political situation
(When America is in need) But he ain't messin' with politics unless he can improve his own condition