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Ye or Nay? Kanye, Third-Party Candidates and the 2020 Election

This week, democracy-ish goes full Kanye. As if 2020 couldn’t get any crazier.


  • In his latest effort to agitate Taylor Swift (or, just lead the nation?) Kanye West announced he’s running for president. On Twitter, naturally.

  • If Black progressives are disappointed by Democrats, is it okay to consider a third-party candidate? (Maybe not this year.)

  • Polls suggest that Biden’s ahead in the 2020 race. Can we even trust polls anymore?


In our continuing coverage of our disillusion of American democracy, Danielle and Toure re-assess the presidential race with just four months to go until the election.


First up: Kanye West throws his MAGA hat in the ring. But he’s not actually in the presidential race … right?


“He hasn't filed the paperwork,” says Toure. “He hasn't gotten any of the signatures. His name will not be on the ballot in any state. Yet pollsters are asking people: Would you vote for Kanye? And 2% of America is saying yes.”


Does Ye present a problem for Joe Biden’s bid to dethrone the Orange Menace? Polls suggest that Trump is losing, but we know how imperfect they can be. And speaking of third-party candidates, will it ever be a good idea for progressives to reject the Democrat and go in for a ‘non-binary’ choice?


Perhaps millennial lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represent a new wave of power that’s actually of, by, and for the people. Will Black folks finally get some respect within the Democratic party?


Grab a cold drink; the hot takes are coming fast.



Episode Highlights –– Kanye Won’t Save Trump


Flashing (hazard) lights

“Are you freaking out about a Kanye candidacy?” asks Toure.


“I fucking hate Kanye, okay?” Danielle replies. “I cut off Kanye the same way that I cut off R. Kelly; the same way I don't listen to Chris Brown. I can't stand any of these narcissistic self-serving motherfuckers.”


But she’s not really worried: “He hasn't done a goddamn thing except make an announcement on Twitter.”


Earlier this week, a Texas poll put Biden at 48 points and Trump at 44. Add in Kanye and other third-party names, and Biden stays at 48, but Trump’s numbers drop all the way to 39.


“I’m annoyed by the fact that pollsters don't have anything more important to do,” Danielle says.


“As if fascism hasn't arrived on our shores, there aren't children in cages, Roger Stone wasn't just pardoned, and we don't have a pandemic that has infected over 3 million people and killed 136,000. But yeah, let's focus on Kanye –– and Kim Kardashian as possibly another nude first lady.”



Guv lockdown

Toure thinks Americans can walk and chew gum at the same time.


“People are still in the streets protesting for BLM. People are still dying of COVID, and others are still fighting to not wear masks. But we are in a sort of stasis point, in terms of the election. Joe Biden has not yet announced a vice president. There's very little campaigning. People are bored. So when someone like Kanye––”


“Bored? People are BORED?” Danielle interjects.


The race hasn’t really changed much lately, Toure says.


“When Biden announces his VP, the race will have new energy. But right now, it’s sort of a sleepy time. So for a Kanye to say –– conveniently, right before he puts out another album –– that he’s running for president, people seize on it.”



Super egos

As a longtime music critic, Toure thinks Kanye is still interesting –– at least musically, even though his last two albums were “doo-doo trash,” he says. “The worst of his career.”


But in the realm of politics, “he’s a right-wing figure,” Toure adds. “He hasn’t be