The Rock vs. Kanye West: An Early Investigation of the 2020 Presidential Race

Who's getting your vote?

By Shawn Cooke May 12, 2017
(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3)
(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3)

Get ready, 2020 Election. You just might be able to smell what The Rock is cooking. In a recent cover story, GQ’s Caity Weaver asked the world’s highest paid movie star about a presidential run: “‘I think that it’s a real possibility,’ he says solemnly.”

For the record, that solemnly is huge. It’s hard to tell when entertainers are slinging half-truths for entertainment’s sake, or coming with complete sincerity. When the voice drops a few steps in pitch, as I’m imagining Johnson’s did, you know shit’s about to get real.

Since we’ve reached a surreal point in American politics where an August 2019 primary debate could very well feature some combination of Johnson, Mark Zuckerberg, Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, Curt Schilling, and Mark Cuban, we decided to break down Mr. Johnson’s potential candidacy.

So it only made sense to pit his White House bid against the only aspiring celebrity politician who really matters: Kanye West. Sure, there was chatter of him bumping the campaign back to 2024 to clear the way for a second term of orange, but now that he’s officially off the Trump Train, we’ll assume that the Yeezus 2020 run is back on with a vengeance.

Welcome to a steel-cage match between two mega-celebrities for the chance to do battle with progressive America’s favorite heel.

President Johnson

He could avert World War III via body slam

Let’s get to the obvious: Johnson is a hulking beast of a human who wouldn’t need tweets or press conferences to instill fear in America’s enemies. While we don’t doubt that The Rock would consider diplomacy before taking to the body slam, Kim Jong-un would probably think twice about another missile test after watching the People’s Elbow or WrestleMania highlights.

If he can flex his way out of a cast, I’d like to think he can flex his way to the White House. Bonus points: he’s already won a WWE belt from Stone Cold Steve Austin, who has a very strong record against Trump.


He already has presidential polish on social media

You probably won’t get any early morning wire-tapping accusations from President Rock. Instead, he brings us a steady stream of humanist Instagram posts that spare no details, whether pulling off stupidly superhuman feats in the gym, or bumping into a friend and telling you everything they talked about (or at least what he wants us to know). But most of the time, his missives hit on an earnest sweet spot—like this ode to his 5-year-old daughter—that are everyman relatable.

He treads the middle ground

This point will be frustrating to everyone, but it might just be the thing that makes him electable. If we’ve learned anything from Donnie Trump’s social experiment, it’s that we’re past the point of giving a shit about coherent ideology.

In his GQ profile, The Rock dodges most explicit identifiers—he’s a registered independent, attended both the Democratic and Republican conventions in 2000 to encourage voting, is pro-national security, anti-travel ban, pro-troops, and feminist.

Basically, he’s casting the widest net possible, and gives the third vaguest answer of the week to a question about Trump. (“It's hard to categorize right now how I think he's doing, other than to tell you how I would operate, what I would like to see,” surrounded by some noncommittal thoughts on “leadership” and “responsibility.”) Maybe after the most divisive campaign in American history, we’ll be ready for another big-tent candidate.

President West

He’s unafraid to make Executive Decisions that he believes in

“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” “I’mma let you finish…” “BILL COSBY INN-” Okay, some of these shocking moments proved to carry at least an ounce of truth after the fact. Kanye is many things: impulsive, bracingly honest, and unapologetic. These aren’t necessarily qualities you want all bundled together in Commander-in-Chief, but you usually know that you’re getting an unfiltered version of his beliefs, which is a rarity in politics.

He’s open to change

Okay, this isn’t always a good thing, and the idea of “evolving” positions is the easiest way to be accused of flip-flopping. Kanye’s career has arguably taken more left-turns than any pop artist this century, so it only makes sense for his stances on certain issues to shape-shift (as we saw with his short Trump honeymoon). But sometimes this can make him the most open-minded and accepting person in the room. And who doesn’t love acceptance?

He'd have the best presidential signature of all time

Our current president has one of the ugliest signatures I've ever seen. The letters coincidentally zig-zag like the polygraph results of someone who's lying his ass off. For reference:

Trump signature
via Quartz

But behold, Kanye's fun-loving, whimsical ink. Whatever the cartoon is—bear, dog, self-portrait—it would feel right at home in a Disney World autograph book.

Kanye signature
via Genius


The Verdict: Please God, neither of them. Let’s make politics boring again.