It’s easy to mock Kanye West running for president.
An erratic late-entrance candidate running on the self-established “Birthday Party” ticket, West is only on the ballot in 12 states, eligible to win at most 84 of the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the West Wing.
Absent the prohibitive mathematical obstacles to his late campaign, West has not cast himself as a serious or stable candidate. His campaign kickoff this summer featured a public meltdown that raised concerns among his family. His online platform is merely 400 words, identifying policy goals with no specifics, citing scripture under each item. Campaign advertising has extended to a few ads released in the final weeks of the election calling on voters to write-in the 43-year-old rapper to pull off a November upset.
“I believe that my calling is to be the leader of the free world,” West told Rogan at the start of the interview. “It was something God put on my heart back in 2015.”
What ensued was a 180-minute conversation that was difficult to follow. A rambling where West described his long tirades as “symphonies” and sounded at times like a contestant at a beauty pageant weaving in complex words to sound intelligent or a freshman college student who discovered marijuana for the first time pondering questions like “How much is the Earth worth?”
When asked what he would do as president, West simply said, “Pretty much everything.”
After a few pauses, West said he would solve the more than $27 trillion national debt.
When asked how he would handle a crisis episode of foreign aggression, West went silent. Then, sounding like Trump in 2016, he said he would be surrounded with smart people.
“I would have the greatest professionals on the planet,” West said.
As a presidential candidate, West sounded a lot like the current president did four years ago.
“Once I see everything, I never make the wrong decision,” West told Rogan at one point. “Once I’m given the right information, I apply my taste, and I have the best taste on the planet.”
Within the erratic outbursts on Twitter, the self-righteous claims, and showcased ignorance of public policy lies a repentant sinner who illustrated a devout Christian faith with depth in the culture wars.
Present throughout the entire three-hour dialogue was a discussion on how West’s faith has shaped the billionaire pop-star today. He made clear, if nothing else, that his sole purpose in life was to live pleasing an audience of one.
“When I made ‘Sunday Service,’ I completely stopped rapping, because I don’t know how to rap for God,” West told Rogan. “All my raps always had nasty jokes. When I went to the hospital in 2016, I wrote, ‘Started church in Calabasas.’ As we left from 2018 going into 2019, I said, ‘I’m not going to let one Sunday go by without starting this church.'”
At another intense moment, West said this:
When you remove like even in the schools you remove prayer, you remove God, you remove the fear of God, you create the possibility of the fear of everything else. But watch this, when you instill the fear of God, you eliminate the fear of anything else. And it’s not that I am fearless. I am definitely, literally definitely shaking and in so much fear of my father, I fear God, and I don’t fear nothin’ else.
West remained most fixated, however, on the topic of abortion, referring to the procedure instead as the “a-word” when discussing the rapper’s summer episode breaking down on a South Carolina stage where he revealed his family had almost terminated his daughter’s pregnancy.
Kanye West gets emotional while speaking about abortion in South Carolina:
"My Mom saved my life. My Dad wanted to abort me… There would have been no Kanye West."
"I almost killed my daughter." pic.twitter.com/jiGuODxAno
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) July 19, 2020
West condemned abortion’s racist roots as a weapon of eugenics that still takes a disproportionate toll on black lives.
“People saw this clip of me crying. Some people didn’t know what I was crying about. I was crying about that there is a possible chance that Kim and I didn’t make the family that we have today. That’s my most family-friendly way to word that. The idea of it just tears me up inside, that I was part of a culture that promotes this kind of thing,” West said. “There were 210,000 deaths due to COVID in America. Everywhere you go, you see someone with a mask on. With A, the A word, a culture – I’ll say it one time, with abortion culture – there are 1,000 black children aborted a day. Daily. We are in genocide.”
West also mocked Democrats’ soft-bigotry of low expectations as feeding institutional racism, and derided subjects like Black History Month.
“We’re given Black History Month and we take that like it’s some gift to us,” West said.
It’s programming to us. Racism doesn’t end until we get to a point where we stop having to put the word ‘black’ in front of it, because it’s like we’re putting the rim a little bit lower for ourselves… We shouldn’t have to have a special box. A special month. What they show during Black History Month is us getting hosed down, reminding us that we were slaves. What if we had, ‘Remember When I Cheated On You Month’? How does that make you feel? It makes you feel depleted and defeated.
While West lacks the characteristics of a serious presidential contender, there’s a place in contemporary American politics for the pop star’s participation. An increasingly secular society has begun to mark individuals of deep faith with an aura of taboo. Look no further than the recent attacks on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who was depicted as a judicial candidate taken out of a scene from the dystopian “Handmaid’s Tale.”
West’s entrance into the political arena as a faith adherent holds the potential to ignite a more positive change in American society than hundreds of political leaders have in decades by mainstreaming pro-life popularity. Even more than that, West’s message could save millions by bringing the gospel to those who otherwise tune out traditional politicians while destigmatizing the role of faith in politics.