Rapper and entertainment mogul Kanye West announced in an Independence Day tweet that he would be pursuing a 2020 presidential bid.
While the social media proclamation was met with derision by many who saw it, some commentators — including the Washington Examiner‘s Emily Larsen — believe it could have a major impact on November’s election and Joe Biden’s chances.
“If there are tight margins in key swing states, a significant amount of people writing in West’s name who would have otherwise voted for Trump and Biden has the potential to swing and complicate the election,” Larsen wrote Wednesday.
“Swing and complicate the election”
A quote from Rachel Bitecofer, an election forecaster for the Niskanen Center, served as the backdrop for Larsen’s latest article.
“People underestimate how powerful celebrity is in this country,” Bitecofer said.
Depending on whether West continues in his White House pursuit, his celebrity image could serve as a disrupting factor, Larsen argued.
“If he’s out there making a big scene all through the fall, I definitely think there will be some amount of write-in joke Kanye — not all of them will be joking, sadly — but protest Kanye votes,” she added.
“Strategically benefits the Trump campaign”
Though there is some debate over which major campaign — President Donald Trump or presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden — would face the biggest threat from a last-minute West candidacy. Larsen believes it would be Biden.
“I think it probably strategically benefits the Trump campaign to promote a Kanye write-in campaign,” she wrote Wednesday, expressing a belief that he could draw black voters away from the former vice president.
While the rapper recently asserted that he no longer backs the president, West has frequently spoken out in support of Trump throughout his first term and still believes he is “special” — an attribute he does not ascribe to Biden.
“I’m not saying Trump’s in my way, he may be a part of my way,” West said in a recent interview with Forbes, according to Fox News. “And Joe Biden? Like, come on man, please. You know? Obama’s special. Trump’s special. We say Kanye West is special. America needs special people that lead. Bill Clinton? Special. Joe Biden’s not special.”
As Larsen concluded, West’s impact is probably only going to be a deciding factor if the margins on Election Day are incredibly tight. For that reason, it is vital for both candidates to focus on getting as many people to the polls as possible.