Is Kanye West really running for president? Stranger things have happened.

The MTV Video Music Awards show was full of surprises, but none so outlandish as Kanye West's announcement that he will run for president in 2020.

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Kanye West accepts the Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, Calif., Sunday.

Kanye West ended a rambling 11-minute speech at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards in typical Kanye fashion – by announcing his bid for presidency.

“It’s about ideas, bro,” he told the captivated audience at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. “New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth. And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”

And with that, Mr. West dropped the microphone and walked off stage. It was the most outlandish moment in a night filled with them, reinforcing West’s legacy as one of the most eccentric popular artists of our time.

While “Kanye 2020” is far from certain, West wouldn’t be the first celebrity-turned-politician – nor even the first celebrity-turned-president. Republican Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor before he was elected governor of California in 1966 and to the White House in 1980.

Sonny Bono of “Sonny and Cher” fame served first as mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992 before winning a seat in the US House of Representatives in 1994 as a Republican. But his political career was tragically cut short in 1995, when he died in a skiing accident near Lake Tahoe.

Jessie Ventura made his name in professional wresting before serving as the Independent governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. Democrat Al Franken currently represents the state in Washington as its junior senator, a seat he won in 2008 after working for years as a professional comedian.

Then there’s Donald Trump, who broke into the US popular culture spotlight as host of “The Apprentice” for 14 seasons on NBC. Mr. Trump’s brash and outspoken personality has helped lead him to the front of the crowded race for the Republican presidential nominee. The Des Moines Register reports that 61 percent of respondents in a recent Iowa poll view him favorably, up 19 points since May.

Maybe a presidential run by West isn’t so crazy after all.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to