Below, Billboard has compiled a timeline of West’s race to get his name officially on the ballots this year.
July 4, 2020 – West officially declares that he’s running for president in the 2020 election.
Fans might have thought West would be checking Trump’s name on the ballot, but West announced on the 4th of July this year that he plans on having his name on the 2020 presidential ticket — without announcing which party he plans to run for. “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,” the rapper-turned-political candidate wrote on Twitter.
July 5, 2020 – West builds “YZY SHLTRS” as part of his presidential campaign.
A day after announcing his run, the Yeezy founder posted a picture of dome-like structures he fashioned as a solution to the U.S. housing issue. “YZY SHLTERS in process #2020VISION,” he wrote on Twitter.
July 6, 2020 – Political experts weigh in if the Late Registration rapper registered a little too, well, late.
Robert Shapiro, Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government and Professor of International and Public Affairs in the Columbia University Department of Political Science, told Billboard two days after West’s announcement that “third-party candidates usually try to get in early and get on the ballot in all the states.” But at this point in time, West hit the ‘Ye button too late and snoozed through the filing deadline to appear on the ballot as an independent in six states, according to Ballotpedia, including New York, Texas, North Carolina, Maine, New Mexico and Indiana.
Shapiro also believed “this isn’t a serious bid” because the rapper had yet to state his political agenda and as a third-party candidate, the slim chance of winning creates a singular motive for running in the first place: drawing attention to themselves.
July 7, 2020 – West brings #2020VISION to the forefront of his campaign as the slogan.
A clever catchphrase? Check. The necessary paperwork? A spokesperson for the Federal Election Commission (FEC) confirmed to Billboard that West did not file the required paperwork at the time to make his bid official. But two Yeezy fans went out of their way to help The College Dropout artist out with his homework, as one filed under the pseudonym “Ye West” with an address listed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House. The second fan incorrectly spelled the musician’s full name — Kanye Omari West — as “Mr. Kenye Omari West.”
July 7, 2020 – President Donald Trump comments on his competition with West.
In an interview with RealClearPolitics from the Oval Office, Trump chimed in about his pal joining the race, specifically about when he chose to do so. “It’d have to be limited to certain states, because in some states the deadline has been missed,” he said about West’s fashionably late registration. But to the Commander-in-Chief, he thinks West should think of the 2020 election as practice for 2024. “If he did it, he would have to view this as a trial run for what’s going to happen in four years.”
July 8, 2020 – In a Forbes interview, he officially tosses the MAGA hat and lays out his own campaign.
West made his political agenda clear in a recent Forbes feature with a new simple slogan: “YES!” Yes, you’ve read that right. Readers also found out that the “No More Parties in LA” rapper will be hosting his independent platform as the “Birthday Party” because “when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday…. When I’m president, let’s also have some fun.”
West, who also believes God appoints the president of the United States with no regard to the voting demographic or Electoral College, wants to run the nation like Wakanda, the fictional African country from the 2018 film Black Panther. “A lot of Africans do not like the movie and representation of themselves in… Wakanda. But I’m gonna use the framework of Wakanda right now because it’s the best explanation of what our design group is going to feel like in the White House,” he said in the interview. “Let’s get back to Wakanda… like in the movie in Wakanda when the king went to visit that lead scientist to have the shoes wrap around her shoes.” Perhaps he plans to double the White House as another Yeezy sneaker factory.
July 9, 2020 – West documents registering to vote for the first time in his life in a video.
The 43-year-old multihypenate has rapper, songwriter, producer, fashion designer, father and more titles to his name, but until July 9, registered voter was not one of them. In a one-and-a-half-minute clip he posted to Twitter, ‘Ye showed the people how easy it was to do it by heading to the County Clerk Office in Cody, Wyoming, his bonafide home.
July 9, 2020 – Planned Parenthood speaks out against West’s “offensive” claims about abortion.
In the aforementioned Forbes feature, he claimed he was “pro-life because I’m following the word of the Bible” and described Planned Parenthood as an institution “placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work” with no evidence to support his stance. Nia Martin-Robinson, director of Black Leadership and Engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told Billboard, “Any insinuation that abortion is Black genocide is offensive and infantilizing.”
“Black women are free to make our own decisions about our bodies and pregnancies, and want and deserve to have access to the best medical care available,” Martin-Robinson added. “At Planned Parenthood, we trust and we stand with Black women who have, and continue to lead the charge when it comes to the health, rights, and bodily autonomy of those in their communities.”
July 14, 2020 – West polls at 2% in a U.S. presidential poll.
According to a July 9-dated national presidential poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, the “Power” rapper secured 2% of the vote after he was added to the poll as a potential candidate. It’s the first tally conducted since his 4th of July announcement.
July 16, 2020 – West finally filed with the FEC, making his run far from over.
The Associated Press confirmed that the Graduation star finally finished his homework and qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot. He met the deadline to snag a spot on the state’s Nov. 3 presidential ballot and paid the $35,000 filing, according to Oklahoma Board of Elections spokeswoman Misha Mohr.
Here’s an outline of Team West’s work so far: His campaign filed a “Statement of Organization” on July 15 with the FEC that stated his team would serve as principal campaign committee for West’s candidacy. In FEC Form 1 filed under Kanye 2020, Kanye West is listed as the candidate with a Cody, Wyo. address and BDY (Birthday) Party as his affiliated third party.
Then on Thursday (July 16), he took the second step by filing FEC Form 2, or “Statement of Candidacy,” which is only accomplished when an individual raises or spends more than $5,000 in campaign activity, activating candidacy status under federal campaign finance law.
July 17, 2020 – Political experts weigh in about whether the “Famous” rapper is only running because he wants to be, well, more famous.
John Mark Hansen, professor of political science at the University of Chicago in West’s hometown, told Billboard he thinks the underlying motive behind his campaign “is that he gets to say he is a presidential candidate, he will get some additional publicity, and he can afford it.” He continues, “He seems to have a high opinion of himself. Like a lot of celebrities, though, I suspect he’s hungry for attention and he’ll get it.”
Robert Shapiro, Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government and Professor of International and Public Affairs in the Columbia University Department of Political Science, echoed his previous sentiments to Billboard about West’s obsession with being in the spotlight. But he also believes that during a time when the world is plagued by the coronavirus pandemic that is affecting the economy, and divisive partisanship has been rampant since the 2016 election, voters are less likely to go third party. “Voters this election are less likely than in the last, I think, to waste their votes on third/fourth party candidates,” he said.