President Donald Trump finally knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end of one of his Twitterstorms after dealing with Kanye West at the Oval Office. For once, 45 was speechless after hearing West unleash a stream-of-consciousness rant that has millions believing he is woke and millions more believing he is a raving psychopath.
Regardless of what actually is the case, Republicans would be wise to embrace Kanye West and what he has to offer. This bizarre situation has the chance to revolutionize politics as we know it, and there is much that connects West to the conservative message. If nothing else, this is a spectacular opportunity to drive a wedge between the Democrats and their most reliable constituency.
West embodies the American dream and lives the rags-to-riches story that Republicans are always eager to sell to the public. While most Republicans talk a good game, West lives that life and commands a great deal of respect for his humble roots. He has the actual gravitas for the public to take him seriously when he talks about the importance of hard work and ingenuity. As we saw with Trump, being a celebrity doesn't hurt either. In our amnesiac society dumbed down by leftist social control, celebrities are looked at like deities. This has benefited the Left for decades, but why can't the GOP cash in on this phenomenon? It worked once in 2016, maybe it can work again.
Sure, West is not a doctrinaire conservative but neither was Trump. And let's face it: the doctrinaire conservative message was never very appealing to blacks. We always have had Thomas Sowell and a handful of people like him who have done a tremendous job in promoting conservatism, but they are few and far between (and that's putting it lightly). West's message, although a little bit off the wall, has the ability to connect with demographics group that otherwise never would consider Republican politics. Kanye's dragon energy is being unleashed, and we must not fight this phenomenon. Like Trumpism, it must be something that is developed and harnessed to our enemies' great peril.
West's message is one for our strange times. The stodgy, old, boring conservative voices of the past are hanging by a thread, and it is time for them to be put out to pasture. The new breed of thought mover is cultivated with an organic following on social media and doesn't have to kowtow to corporate sponsors, party bosses, soulless lobbyists, remote oligarchs, and other gatekeepers in order to make a serious impact. These ascendant thought movers are instead rewarded for the raw, uncensored nature of their political takes. This is the free market at its best (and why tech companies are desperately implementing censorship), and in a competitive atmosphere where the consumer decides, the likes of Kanye West will come out on top.
West is certainly eccentric, but the same is true of most of the greatest minds throughout American history. Elon Musk is -- and Howard Hughes was -- a trailblazer who battles personal demons. Compared to some of those figures, West is a very stable genius like the President he admires. West is a fount of creativity and has many big ideas swirling around his brain that he cannot always articulate properly. In the short time he actually spoke at the meeting he made great points on a wide range of topics from the education system, American jobs, the 13th amendment, to prison reform. While the mainstream pundits prefer to criticize him and his nuanced points, West connects with the American people by speaking from the heart. The average American is afraid to speak out because of the political establishment's threats, harassment, and the ridicule from the political establishment, but West is above all of that. That's the type of courage that the American public wants out of a leader, and why West will be extremely formidable when he decides to run for President.
Conservatives need to realize that reading boring talking points prepared by a corporate-funded thinktank in Washington D.C. is inspiring nobody, except for maybe a handful of lame Ben Shapiro clones who never get invited to college parties anyway. The West message, buoyed by the alluring and vivacious Candice Owens of Turning Point USA, is one that can transcend all boundaries. It is a message of hope, of perseverance, of greatness, of responsibility, of being true to one's self - a wholesome American message if there ever was one. If that message happens to be sprinkled with swearing, so be it, that is the passion we need to tackle big issues.
West wants black people to help themselves, as he did, instead of waiting for Democratic Party handouts. West shows there is a path out of the ghetto and a path forward in life, rather than the cycle of destitution and dependence. West explains that black people were emancipated from physical slavery after the Civil War via the 13th Amendment, but they have yet to be fully emancipated from their mental slavery. West believes the plantation mindset instilled into communities of color by Democrats who play to their “pride and emotion” is what holds them back more than anything else in this day and age. While West is adamant that criminal justice reform is needed, he does not let fellow black people off the hook. He innately understands the core Republican concept of personal responsibility and tells blacks they must use their God-given freedom to improve their lives and their communities. This may be tough love, but it is a message that is desperately needed to be expressed. West is certainly a better messenger in this regard than the average Republican who is seen as condescending and aloof when expressing similar sentiments.
West sometimes makes mistakes to be sure and is far from perfect. One glaring mistake is his outreach toward NFL has-been Colin Kaepernick at a level of mutual respect. West respects bold free thinkers who aren't afraid to express their honest opinions, which is why he also expressed admiration toward anti-gun zealot Emma Gonzalez. However, Kaepernick does not stack up to West's example. He only got down on his knees because he knew it would give him publicity that he could cash in on once his career fizzled out. Unlike West, Kaepernick squandered the God-given talent he had and never reached his full potential. While West struggled mightily to escape the ghetto, Kaepernick had a far more privileged upbringing than even most middle class whites. Kaepernick was a third-rate QB who had to whore himself out to Hollywood and the liberal media in order to maintain relevance whereas West was an innovator who was respected and revered by the mainstream but tossed them aside to make power moves and speak the real truth with the President. Nevertheless, West's genuine desire to bring people together should be lauded despite his errors.
West may not be perfect, but the skills he brings to the table can be effective. We cannot say the same about the Beltway elite that has lorded over the conservative movement since the heyday of Bill Buckley. These are folks who achieved the highest honors at the most prestigious universities that have been groomed by the best the system has to offer. They have credentials out the wazoo and an army of brown-nosers willing to vouch for their greatness, but where has it gotten them? What are the results? Meanwhile, West issues one simple Tweet and it completely overshadows the entirety of the politburo. That is the power of the market prevailing over the power of the political elites. Because of the emergence of personalities like West and Trump, the Republican Party can evolve into a showcase of the best America has to offer. Wouldn't that appeal to the public better than the legion of doom with an aesthetic of a senior center?
Gavin Wax (@GavinWax) is the former deputy political director for Nicole Malliotakis's New York City mayoral campaign and the New York state director for the 2016 Ted Cruz presidential campaign. He is also publisher of the online publication The Schpiel.