Kanye's endgame

Two weeks ago, Kanye West burst onto the scene as a 2020 presidential candidate.  He won't win, of course, but it makes for sensational popcorn fodder in politics.  That's something Kanye's good at serving up, and this may be his best yet.

Back in 2018, he turned heads by suggesting that he "likes the way Candace Owens thinks."  It was a seismic moment in the culture and for free speech, because the attacks he received didn't cause him to bow down before his detractors, as so many before him had done.  He fiercely defended himself, saying that the "thought police want to demonize thought," followed by an attack on a status quo that demands conformity to its ideas, saying that "[w]e live in time where people don't respect people for being themselves," and rather, "[p]eople respect people for following the general trend and consensus."  "There was a time that slavery was the trend and apparently that time is still upon us," he said.  "But now it's a mentality."

I didn't know anything about Kanye's political philosophy at the time, but that's good stuff.

Kanye West becoming an important figure in the fight for free speech isn't something I would have seen coming, and I certainly wouldn't have guessed that he would openly show support for Donald Trump by appearing in the Oval Office wearing a MAGA hat and greeting him with a big hug, telling the world, "I love this guy."  But he did, and this was met with more vitriol and derision for his heresy by woke progressives.  "Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don't read," said CNN's Bakari Sellers

Well, the plot of this story thickened recently.  "I'm taking the red hat off," he said.  "One of the main reasons I wore the red hat as a protest to the segregation of votes in the black community [sic]," he said, continuing to say that he likes "Trump hotels and the saxophone in the lobby."

In other words, it wasn't so much that he agreed with Trump on all things political, necessarily, but it was a repudiation of the mainstream notion that black Americans' main purpose in politics is to serve as a monolithic voting bloc for Democrats.

Proving his point was actress Debra Messing, who scolded Kanye for having the audacity to steal black votes from the Democrat in the presidential race, saying that he's "playing Jill Stein" by "trying to take you g black voters [sic] from Biden.  It's disgusting."

Those black voters belong in the Biden camp, don't you see.  You know who else believes that?  Joe Biden.

Appearing with popular radio host Charlamagne tha God, Biden told black voters that "[i]f you're having a problem deciding whether you're for me or for Trump, then you ain't black."

Now, this is where this story gets really good.

Realizing that he has no path to victory and hadn't even filed his bid for the presidency with the FEC, Kanye dropped out of the race last week.  But he later jumped back in, announcing on Saturday that he would be holding his first campaign event in none other than — wait for it — South Carolina.

As ABC reports, it's "not exactly clear how West would qualify, as South Carolina's deadline to file signatures as an independent candidate was July 15.  The state does not allow write-in candidates."

Kanye can't win in South Carolina, no matter how much support he's able to drum up.  So why is South Carolina so significant?

It's where the tide turned for Joe Biden's flailing campaign earlier in the year.  Biden's early primary performance was atrocious, and everyone knew that to keep his campaign alive, it was up to South Carolina to deliver a big win for him.  As the New York Times reported in February, the "ability to mobilize black support in South Carolina, which holds its primary on Feb. 29, and across the South has long been the foundation of Mr. Biden's candidacy."

Black voters in South Carolina delivered, with 61 percent of the votes going to Biden.  This kept Biden's campaign afloat, allowing for the Super Tuesday Massacre, where Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropped out of the race, consolidating the "moderate" vote of this rapidly radicalizing Democratic Party, while the leading candidate before Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders, was left to split the far-left vote with Elizabeth Warren.  Biden then cruised to victory.

There's no practical reason for Kanye to be campaigning there, as he can't steal a vote from either candidate.  But South Carolina was the iconic moment where the black vote was so crucial for the Joe Biden campaign, and as far as protesting the presumed "segregation of votes in the black community" that is relied upon by the Democratic establishment, Kanye couldn't have picked a better place to do it.  It's very possible that Kanye is just trolling Biden and the Democrats, and as political trolling goes, this move would rival even President Trump, who has an uncanny knack for it. 

Or it's just self-promotion, and I'm overthinking it.  As with President Trump, it isn't always easy to tell.

Maybe they do share some of that "dragon energy," after all. 

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