OPINION: How Kanye West's presidential run could hurt Joe Biden

With a high approval rating, Biden had a good chance of gaining a majority

Kanye-West-joe-Biden-Twitter-AP Collage: Rapper Kanye West and Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden | Twitter, AP

President Donald Trump’s term in office is currently facing challenges it probably couldn’t have imagined at the beginning of the term in 2016. When he won the elections on promises to make America great again, little did he expect to be upturned by a virus pandemic towards the end of his term, followed by racial unrest.

Amidst all this, Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s race too was wasn’t a smooth ride. Now that the former Vice President seems like a tough opponent backed with former President Obama’s and former Democratic candidate Clinton’s endorsement. But, things got complicated with rapper Kanye West announcing that he is going to run for the office of president. 

West made the announcement on Saturday and his wife Kim Kardashian tweeted the news with an American flag emoji.

This, however, cannot be good news, especially for Biden. 

Going back to 2016, Clinton officially won by popular vote, by nearly 2.9 million votes. She, however, lost due to a system called the electoral college. Since votes for Clinton were concentrated in fewer states, the electoral college system made it difficult for her to win. The electoral college required her to have voted in state proportionate to the population of the state. 

When only Biden and Trump were contenders for the office, there was a good chance of Biden winning majority vote. Trump’s approval rating had dropped to 41 per cent during his impeachment last year. 

This year following the high unemployment rate and strain on the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic, his approval ratings hovered between 37 per cent and 38 per cent. Racial unrest broke out just as it looked like the nation had the pandemic under control. 

Joe Biden’s approval ratings showed that 44.5 per cent of people saw him as favourable. 

This could’ve had meant that Biden won both popular votes and those from the electoral college to help him win. But, with West entering the race, this could change. According to Ballotpedia, he is already too late to get on the ballot in Texas, New York and Illinois—three out of the top six in terms of electoral college votes. Votes in the other states could be split between Biden and West, hurting Biden’s chances of getting the top job. 

Biden, initially during the polls lost out as African-Americans did not favour him much. But, the tides turned as soon as Obama endorsed Biden’s candidacy and the racial unrest in the recent months has helped Biden’s cause too. But with West in the picture, these votes could again be divided. 

A saving grace, however, could be, that not many people take West running for President seriously. In fact, last year when he announced that he might run for president at an event, many in the audience laughed. As West is too late to enter the race anyway, it could mean that he would need to run as an independent candidate. Also, West has openly displayed a friendship of sorts with Trump, with a few visits to the White House and has called Trump an amazing fellow. This might not exactly help West gain too many votes.

Online bookmakers have cut out West’s odds as winning to be 50/1 chance or a two per cent chance that he might actually win. In comparison, the current president's chances of winning a second term are 7/4 and Biden’s chances are 8/11. 

So, on the whole, Kardashian for First Lady? Doesn’t seem probable.