For years, rapper Kanye West has teased the world with the prospect of running for president of the United States - and it appears that the musician might finally be taking the plunge.
Over the weekend, the musician announced his intention to run for president on Twitter, sparking a social media frenzy.
This is everything you need to know about West's announcement to run for office - and whether he can actually do so.
What did Kanye West say in his announcement?
West took to Twitter to announce his intention to run for president.
On 5 July, West wrote: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION.”
His wife, Kim Kardashian, replied to his tweet with an emoji of the American flag.
West has previously made similar claims about running for president - during the MTV Video Music Awards in 2015, West said in his acceptance speech that he would run for president in 2020.
In January 2019, he tweeted “2024” which hinted at pushing back his campaign by four years.
However, with less than four months to go before the United States election on 3 November, can the musician actually run for president?
Can West run for president?
To run for president, a lot of preparation and paperwork needs to be done beforehand.
It appears that West hasn’t taken any of the steps that would be required for him to run for president.
West would have to register with the Federal Election Commission, present a campaign platform and collect enough signatures to get on the November ballot.
Each state has a different number of signatures that West would be required to collect, which would amount to tens of thousands of signatures.
He would be able to run as an independent or he would have to secure the backing of a smaller political party.
However, most parties have chosen their presidential candidates for 2020, and West has also missed the deadline to file as an independent candidate in various states.
However, many states do allow voters to simply write in the name of a candidate on their ballot sheet - these are called “write-in candidates”.
If West wasn’t able to get on the ballot in time, he would be able to rely on this.
Article II, section one, clause five of the constitution sets three requirements for holding the presidency of the United States.
- Be a natural born U.S citizen of the United States
- Be at least 35 years old
- Be a resident in the United States of at least 14 years
Various states across America also have their own individual requirements for those running for president.
For example, in Alabama, legislation introduced in April 2011 requires any candidate running for an office with an age requirement to present their birth certificate. In Colorado, providing proof of citizenship is also required before being sworn in.
What did Elon Musk say?
Tesla CEO Elon Musk replied to West’s announcement on Twitter, writing: “You have my full support!”
A few days before West’s announcement, he posted a picture of himself and Musk.
The picture was captioned with: “When you go to your boys house and you’re both wearing orange.”
The pair's friendship appears to span many years, with Musk citing West as his “biggest inspiration” while answering questions at the South by Southwest conference in March 2018.
In April 2018, West publicly praised the tech entrepreneur for giving him a Tesla, calling it the “funnest car [he’s] ever driven”.
“I really love my Tesla. I’m in the future. Thank you Elon,” West wrote.
What are West's political opinions?
In a May 2018 interview with Charlamagne tha God, West said that if he were to run, his platform would be “the Trump campaign and maybe the Bernie Sanders principles”, adding: “That would be my mix.”
West has previously expressed his support for current president of the United States Donald Trump, wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and, in a visit to the White House, saying “I love this guy right here” and giving Trump a hug.
West has found himself at the heart of various controversies due to comments he’s made over the years.
In October 2019, West spoke out against abortion, stating “thou shalt not kill”. His comments were praised by the anti-abortion organisation Live Action, as well as right wing news site The Daily Wire.
In May 2018, West also suggested that the enslavement of black people in history might have been a “choice” in an appearance for the entertainment site TMZ.
He said: “When you hear about slavery for 400 years… 400 years? That sounds like a choice.”
West later took to Twitter to clarify his statements, writing: “To make myself clear. Of course I know slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will.”
The rapper also received backlash after announcing earlier this year that he would be headlining a mass prayer rally that would also be attended by a number of anti-LGBT preachers, including Cindy Jacobs who compared same-sex marriage to incest.
West did recently gain praise after his involvement with the Black Lives Matter movement, donating $2 million to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor to cover their expenses and legal fees.
West also established a college fund for Floyd’s six year old daughter, Gianna, and has also donated money to black owned businesses in Chicago and around America.