Why Kanye West’s first presidential rally has people concerned

As if 2020 couldn’t get more bizarre, Kanye West held his first presidential campaign rally and it was just as wild as you might think. West first announced his intention to run for president at the MTV Video Music Awards back in 2015, but that plan never came to fruition. Then, on July 4, 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, West broke from his previous support of Donald Trump and said that he would be running in 2020 under his own party, BDY, or the “Birthday Party,” per USA Today. Some people don’t take his announcement seriously, but West seems pretty darn serious about making this happen. 

ABC News reported that a week before his first campaign rally in South Carolina, he was supposedly ending his campaign. But something must have happened, as West now has a campaign logo and filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, in addition to working on collecting signatures to get on the ballot in South Carolina and other states, per The New York Times. He also paid the $35,000 fee in Oklahoma to get on the ballot, per ABC News, though he has missed the deadline to get on the ballot in many key states like Florida and Texas.

So, it appears West is actually walking the walk when it comes to making good on his bid for the Oval Office. Here’s why some people are worried about that. 

Kanye West's campaign rally was all over the place

On July 19, 2020, Kanye West’s campaign rally — held in Charleston, S.C. at the Exquis Event Center — was open to registered guests who signed up on his website, Kanye2020.country. Attendees had to sign a COVID-19 liability release form, and masks and social distancing were required, per Billboard. At least that was a responsible move for the rapper.

His campaign rally speech was a little less straightforward. At the rally, West, who wore a bullet-proof vest and had “2020” shaved into his head, touched on a number of topics — ranging from his business deals with Adidas to false claims about Harriet Tubman. He also said that marijuana should be free and went on an anti-choice tangent. West was tearful speaking about how his mother “saved” his life by not having an abortion, even though his father wanted her to, and how Kim Kardashian had North, even though he didn’t want her to at first either. 

West said that, as president, he would offer $50,000 to anyone who is pregnant and has a child. He later backpedaled, saying that abortion should be legal in 2020 and he would offer $1 million to people who have children. When asked by a woman about abortion in the case of rape, he said, per The Daily Mail, that Steve Jobs was adopted and it “takes a village” to raise kids. He also added that shooting guns is “fun,” per Spin. It was all a lot.

It's not just Kanye West's platform that worries people

Depending on your politics, Kanye West’s platforms may or may not concern you. But there are many people who worry that his bid for president could interfere with an otherwise very important election. As it stands, the most prominent 2020 candidates are Democrat Joe Biden and Republican incumbent Donald Trump. Already, West’s campaign is starting to split the vote a little. A Democratic operative told ABC News that he’s afraid West’s run will draw attention away from Biden, especially young people who are voting for the first time or aren’t impressed with either the Democrat or Republican candidates. Anything is possible, as Americans have learned over the years. 

Per Spin, the first poll with West’s name on it has been released and he’s polling at about 2% of the vote. Joe Biden leads with 48%, with Donald Trump in second with 40%. When West is included in the poll, Trump’s number dips to 39% and Biden’s remains the same. Those numbers aren’t all that impressive, but it’s also just two weeks into his campaign and seeing how 2020 is just one surprise after another, West’s campaign might just be wild enough to work.

As reported by The Blast, some fans also expressed concern for the potential state of West’s current mental health, as the rapper previously has been open about his bipolar disorder diagnosis. Back in 2016, he was reportedly hospitalized for a “psychiatric emergency,” per the New York Times.

Kanye West previously supported Donald Trump

Kanye West previously supported Donald Trump, meeting with the president at Trump Tower in New York City before his inauguration in 2017. The two met again at the White House in 2018, per USA Today. That changed after West announced his candidacy on July 4, 2020, just days after his most recent single was released. West told Forbes that he respected how Trump brought religion into the White House, but lost confidence in the president. “It looks like one big mess to me. I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker,” the rapper said, referring to reports that Trump was in a bunker while anti-police brutality protests took place. 

West also accused the Democrats and Joe Biden of threatening Black people to vote for them. In addition to his criticisms of his opponents, West said in the July 8 Forbes interview that he is anti-vaccines, wants prayer back in schools, wants to abolish police brutality and the death penalty, and is against abortion, which he also addressed at his rally.

West will be holding more rallies, according to ABC News, so people will be able to get a better idea of what he’s about heading into 2020. Trump and Biden might want to take him more seriously. 

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