Sometimes Republican voters are a bit like a teenager with a crush. They profess to not care about the opinions of celebrities and ridicule political pronouncements and endorsements by the Hollywood elites, but when a celebrity casts a smile in their direction, they tend to immediately fall hopelessly in love. That was the case this week with Kanye West.
Kanye’s flirting with Trump began just after the election in November 2016. At a concert, West said that he had not voted, but “if I would have voted, I would have voted for Trump.” In December 2016, Trump hosted Kanye at the Trump Tower. West did not comment after the meeting, but the president-elect said of the rapper, “ He's a good man. We've been friends for a long time.”
That brings us to this week when Kanye tweeted, “You don't have to agree with trump [sic] but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.”
Later Kanye stepped out in a MAGA hat and then tweeted a picture of the hat, which was autographed by Trump. The POTUS replied with a tweet to Kanye, which Kanye retweeted, that said, “Thank you, Kanye, very cool!” That was enough for the Trump faithful to fall in love with the budding bromance.
But does this mean that Kanye is a conservative or a Republican? Apparently not. In a subsequent tweet, Kanye said, “I'm not even political. I'm not a democrat or a republican.” In another, he wrote, “I love Hillary too.”
The indications are that Kanye likes Trump on a personal level, but doesn’t necessarily support his policies and didn’t vote for him. Is just speaking well of the president enough to be praised by Republicans? Is the right really that starved for positive attention from celebrities?
The situation with Kanye is similar to the laurels that Roseanne Barr received a few weeks ago for playing a character that was a Trump supporter. Never mind that Roseanne is a liberal and her show embraces liberal issues such as a transgender child character and a favorable reference to “my body, my choice,” a pro-abortion slogan. Barr’s original series was “progressive” on gay issues and pooh-poohed the idea of corporate tax cuts. The actress has identified as a socialist.
While Roseanne reportedly did vote for Trump in real life, National Review points out that Barr is a conspiracy theory believer. The actress recently tweeted about a conspiracy theory related to the debunked “pizzagate” conspiracy of 2016. Barr gave President Trump credit for secretly breaking up a worldwide network of “[child] trafficking rings in high places everywhere.”
Like Roseanne, Kanye is probably not the best role model for conservatives. West is no stranger to controversy, having recorded a song called, “I Am A God,” and compared himself to Jesus. West proclaimed himself to be the “voice of this generation” and blamed racism for his loss to Britney
Spears at the Video Music Awards in 2007. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, West claimed, “George Bush doesn't care about black people.” In 2013, he blamed Obama’s lack of success on black people not having “the same level of connections as Jewish people” and ‘oil people.”
It’s fine that President Trump and Kanye West have a friendship, but Republicans should pay a closer attention to what people represent before lionizing them as conservative heroes. Ironically, in the days before Trump, many members of his current base would attack Republicans as “rinos.” These “Republicans-in-name-only” would talk the conservative talk, but their actions were deemed to be those of closet liberals.
Now many of the same people hail Kanye and Roseanne based on professions of support for Trump despite their questionable histories. What seems to matter to Republicans these days is not whether a celebrity agrees with conservatives on the issues, but how they feel about Trump. That’s pretty shallow.
The message Republican partisans are sending to Hollywood is “flattery will get you everywhere.”
Originally published on The Resurgent