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OPINION

Political Lessons from Kanye West’s Short-Lived 'Birthday Party'

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Kanye West’s incredible run for the presidency has come to an end after just 11-days. The former MAGA hat-wearing rapper declared his independence from the two-party system and announced his short-lived candidacy with his self-created “Birthday Party.” He even drew the endorsement of  Elon Musk, who has reportedly discussed a Kanye presidential run with him for years. Although he’s ruled out 2020 – 2024 still remains a possibility – his run did prove one thing: the self-serving nature of himself and his supporters.

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Previously, West had been incredibly vocal about his support of Trump, speaking out in multiple public appearances and even discussing it in his music. He's spent time with the president, having worked with him on issues relating to criminal justice reform. He's also benefited from his policies, having accepted millions of dollars in pandemic relief fund money for his "struggling" businesses. Then, out of nowhere, he announced his opposition.

In explaining his decision, Kanye stated he was “taking the red hat off [because he's] lost confidence in the president” and went on to bash him as lacking control. His announcement came in stark contrast to his 2018 suggestion that he would not run against Trump and would wait until 2024. But the egotistical nature of the Chicago rapper couldn't resist an opportunity to direct focus on himself.

Musk may have his own self-serving reasons to back West, with Kanye suggesting Elon could run the nation’s space industry – a potential conflict of interest for a man that has seemed to have his fair share of them over the years. But it’s easy for Musk to stand against the president seeing as he rarely stood for him.

While some conservatives enjoyed his resistance to California’s COVID measures and his promotion of the “red pill,” they seemed to have ignored Musk’s long history of bucking the administration. He’s bashed the president’s signature policies, openly supported Hillary Clinton and Andrew Yang, and threw away every olive branch Trump’s given him. He has ostensibly only made nice with him when seemingly in need of help for one of his businesses.

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Even with him out of the race, Kanye’s polling numbers suggested he'd do more damage to Trump than he would Biden, and his continued opposition may very well damage the president’s image with voters. In revealing their true colors, celebrities like West and Musk show the very hypocrisy that Trump had highlighted in his 2016 assault on the liberal elite. They have never been loyal to the president, his policies, or the nation – only themselves.

Some are questioning if Kanye’s opposition even matters, but don’t underestimate West and Musk’s influence. Both West and Musk are billionaires. They have massive followings on social media and have an army of reporters ready to scribe their every word. In an election that is expected to be tight, a shift in a few thousand votes in the right place could have a dramatic impact.

Over the last two decades, modern entertainment has found a growing influence on American society's older institutions. Comedians are becoming more trusted than newscasters, movie stars are becoming ambassadors, and sitcom stars are running for governor. They are the people best equipped with the name recognition, personal connections, and finances to garner attention and run a successful campaign. While this phenomenon can give conservatives something to cheer about when populist candidates arise, it’s also something they should take seriously when executed by the left.

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Regardless of what type of campaign actually transpires, the actions of Kanye and Musk speak plainly enough. The elitist class will do whatever it can to take down this president. Conservatives need to resist the dangerous actions of these ultra-wealthy leftists. We can’t be suckered in again by those like West and Musk who’d use the movement to advance their self-serving agendas.

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