By: Sean Youngberg
As election night came to a close, it was clear that no winner would be announced for at least a few days, leaving the world impatiently waiting to find out who their next president will be.
One thing was for sure- it wasn’t going to be Kanye West, even though he managed to win a whopping 60,000 votes.
At the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye was awarded the Video Vanguard award, given to artists with profound impact and contributions to music and pop culture. At the very end of his acceptance speech, he announced that in 2020, he would be running for President of the United States.
In July, Kanye reiterated this sentiment, tweeting on Independence day that he would be running for president, followed by the hashtag”2020VISION,” which eventually became his campaign slogan.
After a completely off the rails rally in South Carolina later in July and a number of failed attempts to get on Ballots, West’s actual campaigning, per say, seemingly stopped. Instead, he used Twitter as his platform to talk to his following, much like our current President.
On October 8, the night of the Vice Presidential debate, Kanye tweeted a link to KANYE2020.Country, where his campaign merchandise could be bought and visitors could read what his presidential platform was all about.
Kanye tweeted the next day that in just 24 hours, he profited $864,980 off his campaign merchandise, with over 6,000 orders placed in that time span.
Shortly after the merch drop, Kanye released his first presidential campaign ad, calling on Americans to “contemplate” where to countries heading, encouraging them to go and vote.
Finally, in his last attempt at garnering more support, Kanye went on the Joe Rogan podcast to discuss why he was running and what inspired him to do so.
When all was said and done, Kanye found himself on the official ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont.
Of those 12 states, Kanye had the most success in Tennessee, where he got over 10,000 votes. He received over 7,500 votes in Minnesota and over 6,000 in Colorado and Kentucky.
In all, Kanye received over 59,700 votes for the presidency, a pretty shocking statistic to most, i’m sure. However, there is a brightside to this.
Kanye West never, ever had a legitimate chance at winning the election. Not once. So sure, you could say that those 60,000 people threw their vote away, wasting it on a publicity stunt from their favorite musician.
People said the same thing when Gary Johnson made a lot of headway during the 2016 presidential race, that those voting for him are throwing a vote away because he has no legitimate shot at beating Clinton or Trump. Johnson received 4.5 million votes that year.
That same year, Harambe,a dead gorilla you probably remember, received over 15,000 write-in votes for President of the United States. You read that correctly.
The narrative throughout this escapade was that Knaye is in it for publicity, he’s stealing votes from other candidates, he’s an idiot, and he needs to be stopped. I’m not sure I see it that way.
Kanye, himself, had never voted until this year. Those who voted for him probably have never voted either, until this year.
Even though they didn’t vote for who you voted for, Kanye encouraged young people and others who had never voted,or even registered, to get up, get out and become part of the democratic process.
Hopefully four years from now, now that these voters are involved and more educated than before, they’ll come into the 2024 election ready and prepared to really make a difference.
It may have been a stunt, it may have been hard to watch and frustrating to read about, but Kanye played a huge role in getting people registered and voting, and that shouldn’t be ignored or unappreciated.
Kanye conceded defeat on twitter at 4 A.M. on November 4, saying “Welp… Kanye 2024.” Who knows, maybe we’ll just have the 2020 election a second time.