Written by: Charlotte Bredael
As reported by The Guardian, If Kanye West is serious about running for president, the rapper and fashion designer will face major obstacles to mounting a serious campaign less than four months before the 3 November election.
West said he was running in a Twitter post on Saturday, the Fourth of July holiday.
If so, he will have to work fast to get his name on the ballot alongside Donald Trump and the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
There are two routes to doing so, said James McCann, a political scientist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
West could try secure the backing of a smaller political party. Without it, he could try to appear as an independent.
But deadlines for registering that way have already passed in some states, including New Mexico and North Carolina, a key battleground.
Getting on the ballot as an independent would require hiring staff or recruiting volunteers to gather tens of thousands of signatures across the US before other registration periods close in August and September, a task made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s hard to see Kanye West having a field operation,” said McCann, adding that another option would be for West to ask supporters to write his name on the ballot.
It is unclear if West, a prominent Trump supporter also known for his marriage to reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, has filed any official paperwork. Reuters was unable to reach his publicist for comment.
West has previously announced plans to run for president without doing so. Last week he entered a 10-year deal with Gap to create a line of clothing carrying the “Yeezy” brand name.
In October 2018, he made headlines with a visit to the White House. In a rambling, profanity-laden speech, he discussed alternative universes and his diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Three weeks later, West said he was distancing himself from politics and that he believed he had been used to spread messages he did not believe.
Even with a serious campaign, West would be unlikely to draw more than a few percentage points of the vote, peeling away similar numbers from Trump and Biden, said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
“He’s got a long way to go even to convince us that he’s serious,” said Sabato.
The most recent candidate to put significant effort into launching a campaign a few months before the election was Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative who announced his bid as an anti-Trump conservative in August 2016. McMullin appeared on the ballot in 11 states and won 0.53% of the popular vote.
“There’s a way to run as an outsider but it’s hard and expensive,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor of Inside Elections, which provides nonpartisan analysis of campaigns.
“I think West, or anyone else, has missed their window of opportunity to have a meaningful impact.”