Kanye West qualified for presidential ballot access in 12 states in the 2020 election, so he has had to re-tool his campaign messaging for the other 38, where it looks as though he’s hoping to gain ground as a write-in vote. On Monday October 12, West released his first campaign ad to Twitter, with the caption, “we stepping out on faith.” In the nearly 90-second commercial, West is shot in front of a black and white American flag, asking, “What is America’s destiny? What is best for our nation? Our people? What is just? True justice? We have to think about all these things, together as a people, to contemplate our future. To live up to our dream, we must have vision.”
So far, West sounds like he’s stalling in the introduction to a book report to reach the page requirement. But then he gets into his primarily faith-based platform: “We as a people will revive our nation’s commitment to faith. To what our Constitution calls ‘the free exercise of religion.’ Including, of course, prayer. Through prayer, faith can be restored. We as a people are called to a greater purpose than ourselves. We are not only a beacon to the world, but we should be servants to each other. To encourage each other. To help each other. To lift up each other, our fellow Americans, so we may all prosper together.”
Throughout this monologue, swelling strings play over imagery of families: Praying at the dinner table, praying at a Bible study. There’s an image of a satellite. Of firefighters. Of a man who looks like JK Simmons with a ponytail, walking through a garden, fondling the leaves as if to say, “yes, prayer, mm, yes, faith, Kanye, America.” You can see it in this B-roll actor’s eyes, because he is a very good actor, like JK Simmons. We are just over halfway through the ad, but the rest of it is more faith-stuff and more B-roll. The ad ends with the words: “VOTE/KANYE WEST/WRITE IN KANYE WEST.” There are 22 days until the election, but surely that satellite B-roll will do the trick.
Watch Kanye West’s Faith-Based Presidential Campaign Ad