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Kanye West faces major hurdles in White House bid

FILE PHOTO: Rapper Kanye West speaks during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss criminal justice reform in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Kanye West faces major hurdles in White House bid

Kanye West has announced via Twitter that he is running for US president this year - less than four months out from the November election.

Kanye West faces major hurdles in White House bid

If the rapper is serious about his White House bid, he faces major obstacles to mount a campaign so close to the election.

“There’s a way to run as an outsider but it’s hard and expensive, and I think West, or anyone else, has missed their window of opportunity to have a meaningful impact,” said Inside Elections editor Nathan Gonzales.

West will have to work fast to get his name on the ballot alongside President Donald Trump, a Republican, and the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

It’s currently unclear whether West has filed any official paperwork to appear on state election ballots, and there’s no evidence that he has a campaign organisation.

According to Purdue University political scientist James McCann, one way West could get his name on the ballot would be if he secured the backing of a smaller political party.

Otherwise, he could try to appear as an independent candidate, however the deadlines for registering that way have already passed in a handful of states, including New Mexico and key battleground North Carolina.

Getting on the ballot as an independent would also require hiring staff or recruiting volunteers to quickly gather many tens of thousands of signatures across the nation before other registration periods close in August and September, a task currently made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s hard to see Kanye West having a field operation,” said McCann, adding that another option would be for West to ask supporters to write his name on the ballot.

West has previously announced plans to run for president without doing so. At the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, West announced, “I have decided in 2020 to run for president.” Then at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival last year, he said he would run in 2024.

West made headlines during a visit to the White House in October 2018 when he delivered a rambling, profanity-laden speech in which he discussed alternative universes and his diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Three weeks later, he said he was distancing himself from politics and that he believed he had been used to spread messages he did not believe in.

It’s not clear where Kanye West stands on the political spectrum, with wife Kim Kardashian West saying in a 2018 interview that her husband is “not political, actually”.

“He just happens to like Donald Trump’s personality but doesn’t know about the politics,” she said.

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