FILE PHOTO: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West attend the Vanity Fair Oscar party in Beverly Hills during the 92nd Academy Awards, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Famed rapper Kanye West announced over the weekend that he plans to run for president this November, prompting swift backlash and a flurry of opinions from celebrities and political analysts alike. 

West made his announcement via Twitter on Independence Day, stating, “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.” West does not appear to have filed any election paperwork yet, as he is not listed as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission. 

Critics say that West is engaging in a publicity stunt with no intent to truly win the presidency. West’s announcement comes just after the first single of his new album “God’s Country” was released last week, and he recently signed a 10-year contract with Gap Inc. for a Yeezy clothing line. In response to his announcement, celebrities such as Tiffany Haddish and Paris Hilton mocked the news with their own announcements that they, too, are running for president, while entrepreneur Elon Musk voiced his immediate “full support.”

Reporters and political analysts took to Twitter to express concern for how West’s bid for president could reshape the outcome of the election. Actor Eric Balfour and other liberal influencers scolded the move, saying that West could pull voters away from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and tip the results in Trump’s favor. Journalist Marc Caputo noted that West’s bid could also highlight Biden’s weaknesses for mobilizing black and young voters. Others believe that West’s presence in the election could have the reverse effect. Forbes journalist Andrew Solender argues that opinion polls show low favorability for West, especially among Democrats – meaning that the voters he siphoned would more likely be Trump supporters.

West has publicly supported President Donald Trump in the past but more recently marched in Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Chicago. He has suggested for years that he is considering a presidential bid, announcing last fall that he would pursue the presidential seat in 2024. If West does run for office, he would have to run as an Independent or a write-in candidate, as the Democratic and Republican candidates have already been decided as former Vice President Joe Biden and current President Trump, respectively. The deadline to file for the election has already passed in Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Texas, meaning voters in those states would need to vote for West by writing in his name.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Kanye West Shares a Look at His ‘YZY SHLTRS’ as Part of #2020VISION Campaign – Billboard – 7/5/2020. The rapper, and apparent political candidate, returned to Twitter on Sunday (July 5) with a photo of some innovative dome-like structures in development. “YZY SHLTRS in process #2020VISION,” he captioned the picture.

Huckabee on Kanye West running for president: ‘It’s going to be a rude awakening’ – Fox News – 7/6/2020. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee weighed in on rapper Kanye West’s announcement on the Fourth of July that he is going to run for president, saying “it’s a free country” and “he can certainly run.” “All of the vast financial reporting that he’s going to be required to do and all of the disclosures, some of which are not going to be pleasant for someone in the entertainment industry, and all of the limitations on the money he can earn and how he can spend it.” “I think it’s going to be a rude awakening,” he continued.

Britney Spears fans renew ‘#FreeBritney’ calls after Kanye West presidency bid – The Province – 7/6/2020. “Britney Spears goes through a mental health crisis publicly and she loses her rights,” one wrote on Twitter. “Kanye West goes through a mental health crisis publicly and he runs for president. #FreeBritney.”

For the love of God and America, Kanye – don’t do this – Mail Online – 7/6/2020. So, by the end of his first day of campaigning, and without spending a single dime, Kanye already had his decision promoted positively to 130 million people.That’s why everyone needs to stop laughing and take this development very seriously.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Adam Kotsko @adamkotsko on Twitter, 7/6/2020:  In a head-to-head election, I’d vote for Kanye over Trump a thousand times over. I’d commit voter fraud to cast extra votes — though that would mainly be to p*ss Trump off. I’m confident Kanye would carry Illinois easily.

Mike Sington @MikeSington on Twitter, 7/6/2020: Kanye West claims he’s running for President, but he’s lying. He hasn’t registered with the Federal Election Commission, collected any signatures to get on the November ballot, and has missed the deadline to file as a candidate in many states. He just posted a tweet, so big deal.

Photos Of KimYe @PhotosOfKanye on Twitter, 7/4/2020: @KimKardashian It’s really gonna be the WEST Wing

Melissa Val @FromMyEyes2012 on Twitter, 7/4/2020: @KimKardashian Yes. Another unstable president is just what we need

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