Now that an attention-hungry, flamboyant entertainer and businessman, who’s woefully ignorant of government and its complexities, is the Republican nominee for president and, in some polls, leading a former Secretary of State and First Lady who has roughly three decades worth of governing experience, should we take the 2015 threat of a presidential bid from Mr. Kanye West, a self-proclaimed unsung genius who’s not even a political pundit let alone a practitioner, more serious?
When Mr. West – whose biggest moment in politics up until now was asserting in 2005, after the federal government’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina, that then President George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people – last year at an awards show said he would run for president in 2020, the political press, as they did when Mr. Trump announced his presidential bid, shrugged it off as merely a blurt from a celebrity who believes his own hype.
But now that Mr. Donald Trump has proven successful at politics, albeit at the expense of American norms and traditions – like releasing one’s tax returns and refraining from drawing attention to genitalia – does Mr. West’s proclamation, and his overall grandiose lifestyle, deserve greater scrutiny and analysis?
To be clear, the probability of Mr. West as a serious presidential candidate is less about his pedigree and position on national and foreign affairs but more reflective of a public enamored by celebrity and an electorate who appears to want an entertainment value with its politics. Nonetheless, if Mr. Trump can, in 2016, be in a dead heat with Mrs. Hillary Clinton, why is it far-fetched that Mr. West, in 2020, can mount a competitive campaign against the incumbent, whomever that might be?
If he did campaign, Mr. West would surely be a political outsider, and, like Mr. Trump, he’d be a populist candidate. Indeed, there are quite a few similarities between Mr. West and the real-estate mogul who later this month will stand trial for racketeering charges, chief among them are a hostile attitude towards the media, a sense of perpetual victimization, a penchant for ranting incoherently, and them being megalomaniacs.
What would be Mr. West’s political platform? Sadly, that probably wouldn’t matter, especially not to the American news media, which, according to a new report, devoted this year nearly three times more airtime to discussing an email scandal than they did to all policy issues. Given that Mr. West says outlandish shit quite often, he would undoubtedly, for the sake of ratings, be ubiquitous in broadcast news, as is Mr. Trump daily.
Regardless of whether or not he wins the presidency, the success of Mr. Trump in the political arena has diminished the seriousness of pursuing the presidency and turned the process into a reality-television show that’s appropriate only for mature audiences.
Whereas, it appears a large portion of the public, as it regards proficiency and temperament, have low expectations for their presidential candidate, Mr. West’s potential attempt to become the second black President of the United States shouldn’t be so readily dismissed.
Mr. Trump has forever changed our political discourse and made it possible for future political amateurs to seek professional government positions. How, and if, establishment candidates can triumph against this new normal remains to be seen.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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