Following Kanye West's VMAs declaration that he wants to run for president in 2020, 24-year-old Baltimore-native Eugene Craig on Monday registered ReadyForKanye.net and filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to register the Ready for Kanye political action committee.
Craig, whose favorite Kanye album is My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, spoke to Rolling Stone about his reasons for starting the PAC and how he's preparing the world for President West.
Why did you file the FEC paperwork? Do you feel like you're making a statement?
I think it is a statement. It's a couple of things going on. First, it's an opportunity to reach voters who ordinarily would not be in tune to the process, who are apathetic to the process. The second part of this is that a party that can openly accept Donald Trump has room for Kanye West. Donald Trump is shrinking the party — I'm a member of the Republican Party — and Kanye West brought us an opportunity to actually grow it. Thirdly, we have a gentleman in Mr. West who 1) stands for small business and entrepreneurship, has spoke out against corporatism; 2) is a school choicer, and has spoken about the racial disparities in regards to public school systems; and 3) has openly spoken out against the war on drugs and the pipeline that the war on drugs provides to the private prison systems. I think if you were to put those issues on a piece of paper and say, "What kind of candidate is that?" that sounds like a Republican candidate to me. And barring — and this is very important, I hope you quote this — barring a sitting Republican president — because that's the only way I will support this, is if there's no sitting Republican president — if Kanye is going to run in 2020, I would love to see him run in a Republican primary. He brings a lot to the discussion that's missing.
How much money do you plan to raise for West's campaign?
Right now, we haven't discussed it. We're not necessarily looking to raise money for Kanye, but I do think that if there's no sitting Republican president and he decides to run, it would be nice to have some data mined and voters reached.
Why did you decide to do this now, when the 2016 election is still over a year away?
If we're going to grab people who are interested, it's best to strike when the iron is hot.
What do you think Kanye West can bring to the United States?
He brings an interesting foreign policy. He's not for occupying every country in the Middle East. That's a discussion that needs to take place right now.
Would you say that's the platform West should run on?
I think it would be a great platform for him to run on.
Who should be his running mate?
I have no idea.
That's fine. Do you have any dream candidates?
I am a very, very adamant Rand Paul supporter. I am supporting Rand Paul in 2016, but I wouldn't throw Rand into that mix. I don't know. I honestly don't know.
How serious are you about this campaign?
This started out as an operation to engage voters who probably would not have been reached otherwise, but over the course of the day, I think… I'll say this. In the age where Donald Trump is the leading contender for Republican nomination, anything is possible.
What's your political background? Have you run for office before?
I have run for office before. I'm active in Maryland politics, but more importantly, I'm the current chairman of the Young Minority Republican Fund.
What do you think West needs to do in order to prepare for 2020 election?
Stay in tune to the issues of the day. I would say start reaching out to both sides of the aisle. I know he came up in the Chicago Democrat machine, but I think Kanye is somebody who is cross-cultural, and I think he is somebody who can be cross-political.
How do you think Kanye West's run for presidency could affect the Kardashian reality show series empire? Any concerns about possible security breaches because of the Kardashian connection?
No, I don't think so. I'm pretty sure they already have pretty tight security.
Do you think that the White House would be open to having a reality series in its midst if he was to win?
I'm pretty sure he'll put an end to the series. One thing about Kanye is that he takes the things he works on very seriously. When he's working, he's working. So I think he would take this just as seriously.
If West decides not to go through with this campaign or tell us it was all a joke, will you have regretted filed the FEC paperwork?
No, not at all. If you live a life where you mean to do what you do, and you mean what you say, you can learn from everything. If he doesn't do it, he doesn't do it. If he does it, he does it. I just hope that if he does do it, he does it as a Republican.