Ye, the fabulously successful musical and fashion artist formerly known as Kanye West, appears to be running for president for a second time. He has launched a "Ye24" campaign seemingly managed and shaped by, first, alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, soon thereafter joined by fascist online personality and political commentator Nick Fuentes.
This nascent campaign made news last week by apparently fooling former President Donald Trump into the bad-optics choice of eating dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Fuentes, a much-banned character (and at least formerly enormous Trump supporter) whose public pronouncements are full of racism, antisemitism, and an open desire to impose his political will with violent force, under the guise of Christian nationalism.
At the meeting, Ye claimed, he asked Trump to be his running mate. Ye has said both that Trump was impressed with Fuentes, in a now-deleted tweet video, and that Trump "had no idea who Nick was" before Ye took him to dinner. Trump has also insisted in a Truth Social post that he did not know Fuentes. Ye did not seem to come out of the meeting with his former admiration for Trump intact.
It is unclear if Ye in 2024 intends to run independently as in 2020 (when he was on the ballot in 12 states and got slightly fewer than 68,000 votes) or for the Republican nomination. Ye referred in the past week in a deleted tweet to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, understood to be a 2024 GOP possibility, as his opponent. Running as an independent would be a far easier path to Ye's actually being on the ballot. If he doesn't bother with launching a full third-party apparatus, the qualifications for independent presidential ballot access are quite within the reach of someone with Ye's wealth and head start (with a halfway competent staff).
Ye, Yiannopoulos, and Fuentes had an aborted appearance on Tim Pool's very popular podcast last night which previewed the public face of the Ye24 campaign. Ye and his team chose to make their animus against Jews their only apparent concern or policy position. Ye wanted people to contemplate that both former Presidents Barack Obama and Trump had trusted advisers who were Jewish (Rahm Emanuel and Jared Kushner) and seems to believe there is a concerted conspiracy on the part of Jewish people to harm him.
Ye alluded to his grievances against his former trainer Harley Pasternak, who Ye alleges sent him a text message threatening to have him drugged and institutionalized again (complete with an implied threat to ruin his relationships with his children) after Ye began his current wave of public animus against the Jews. (Ye was with Pasternak when he was first placed on involuntary psychiatric hold in 2016, and Ye has complained that Jewish doctors gave him medications that were bad for him.) Pool's partner Luke Rudkowski drew attention to the fact that Pasternak had past employment with Canada's Department of National Defense, which to him makes it likely that Pasternak may have been an intelligence agent "handler" of Ye on the part of unnamed sinister controlling forces, a belief of Ye's.
Since Ye issued his since-deleted "death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE" tweet in October, he has been abandoned by business partners including Adidas. Ye intimated on Pool's podcast that just yesterday he learned he was in some sort of tax debt trouble that he fears could land him in jail; he was relieved to learn he could run for president from jail.
While Ye's previous political consigliere was Candace Owens of Turning Point USA and the "Blexit" movement encouraging a black diaspora from Democratic Party support, Ye explained on Pool's podcast that he found his way to Yiannopoulos via an associate of Alex Jones when they were commiserating over their status as highly "canceled" public figures. Yiannopoulos then hooked him up with Fuentes, who Yiannopoulos called on Pool's podcast the most "extraordinarily brilliant political commentator of his generation"
When Pool tried to object to smearing every adherent of a certain religion as purportedly sinister because Ye feels he has been treated unfairly by certain music, fashion, and banking industry executives who were Jewish, Ye walked out and his team soon followed.
In Ye's first wave of political controversy in the Trump era, when he was an enthusiastic MAGA-hat-wearing Trump supporter, the only specific policies he ever seemed to advocate for were related to criminal justice reform, making life easier for prisoners and ending the involuntary servitude associated with modern imprisonment, and a return of industrial production to American cities. Those stances fit well within Trumpism as it was practiced—and both fit perfectly well within standard modern progressive/Democratic platforms as well. A campaign based around complaining about Jews and allying with open advocates of a violent overthrow of the government to impose right-wing Christian values and keep out or reduce the legal rights of nonwhite male Christians might have less crossover appeal.
When Ye actually ran for president in 2020, after a brief public turn toward making his music and public persona more explicitly Christian/gospel in message, he front-and-centered abortion as a concern, but even then he did not advocate banning it but rather providing public financial support for women to encourage them to choose to give birth. He also said he was explicitly intending to steal votes from Joe Biden, and thus help Trump, and offered a potpourri of policies including (through means unspecified) household and student debt reduction, "fair trade," a wider range of educational choices including vocational, and more faith-based local support provision.
"Ye24" has projected nothing specific in its policies or intentions, except for what might be reasonably guessed at by his choice to publicly ally with Yiannopoulos and Fuentes. That mixture is probably best characterized as Christo-fascism: an alleged dedication to pushing Christian beliefs and strictures in public policy combined with malign animus against those who are not white Christians. (Yes, Ye is black. But unless and until he explains what he does, and doesn't, like about his new consigliere and traveling companion Fuentes, the policy implications of his alliance with him seem to be that he agrees with the message Fuentes has been promoting for years. In a now-deleted tweet the other day, Ye wrote/joked? that Fuentes was writing his tweets.)
At this point in his campaign, the only specific point that Ye seems to believe God and Jesus are inspiring him toward as a candidate is reminding the world that he feels various Jewish people did him harm and that it's very important he remind the world that those people are Jewish. It is unlikely this will prove a winning message electorally, though Yiannopoulos on Pool's podcast seems to believe it's a message a mass of Americans are waiting to hear, explaining that Ye is the "dam burst" on an issue that "everyone had been wondering about," that is, why one can't openly blame the Jewish people writ large for substantial portions of the world's troubles, or at least Ye's troubles, without people wanting nothing to do with you. (That our culture has developed taboos about the expression of certain blanket condemnations of certain types, like blacks and Jews, based on the fact that those beliefs have led in living memory to some of history's most massive and horrible crimes, genocides, slavery, and general oppression is something Ye has not yet been asked to consider in public by anyone who has spoken to him.)
As a musician and fashion mogul, Ye had a far brighter and smarter sense of how to find high-quality people to work with than he seems to with politics; it goes without saying that it's depressing to see the greatest pop artist of the century become a bottom-feeding fascist presidential candidate, but his example may help the modern Republican right decide more sharply where they stand, or at least how far in the direction of white nationalist fascism the American electorate is prepared to go.
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