Kanye West, aka Ye, might be forgiven if he began having second thoughts about how his previously announced 2024 presidential campaign is being managed. After all, not only has his campaign dished out over $140,000 in expenses to his white nationalist cohorts, Nick Fuentes and the since-fired Milo Yiannopoulos, but all their work to date, as The Daily Beast reports, has produced exactly zero dollars in donations.
Moreover, while Fuentes’ work to date with Ye has so far only sucked money out of the latter’s bank account, Fuentes’ own white nationalist “Groyper” movement has been prospering vastly from the huge propaganda boost that their association with the famous rapper—including their infamous dinner with Donald Trump—has provided. Tess Owen has a full report in Vice about how being connected to Ye has given the Groypers an instant entry point for their bigoted agenda on college campuses and elsewhere.
Owen describes how the Groypers have been using Ye “as a pawn in their broader strategy to smuggle hateful views into the mainstream and build up fresh support on college campuses. His longshot presidential campaign, #Ye2024, has even inspired a new network, ‘Students for Ye,’ which Fuentes and his ilk are using to lure in and radicalize young, college-aged recruits.”
A hashtag-based campaign, “#YeIsRight”—which has previously turned up on white nationalist banners on freeway overpasses—manifested on a number of college campuses, including at a student organization fair at Florida Atlantic University. More importantly, Ye has become a white nationalist meme on social media, as Owen observes: “Searching #Ye24 on Instagram turns up anti-semitic cartoons, racist videos, and the logo for Fuentes’ organization ‘America First.’”
None of this appears to have been of much benefit to Ye’s presidential campaign. As Roger Sollenberger and Zachary Petrino reported for The Daily Beast, the campaign’s FEC filing shows zero donations. It also paid out $50,000 in expenses to Yiannopoulos on his way out the door, and paid over $9,000 to Fuentes for “travel reimbursement” on the same date as their November dinner with Trump.
Fuentes told Daily Beast reporters the expenses were “incurred by myself and the team when I relocated to LA in November to do work for Kanye 2020,” which remains the official name of West’s current campaign.
On his own program on Cozy.tv, Fuentes told his audience that contrary to reporting at TMZ.com, he hasn’t “parted ways” with West, at least not to his knowledge: “I’m reading this and it’s like, ‘Ye has parted ways with both guys.’ And it’s like: I talked to him the other day. So that would be news to me. And we’re scheduled to have a meeting this weekend. So. I don’t understand where they’re getting this.”
Owen notes that West has been retreating from making public statements and has been seen shopping at Balenciaga with his new wife in public.
“Regardless of whether Ye continues to pursue any presidential campaign, the ‘Groypers’ are using him as a meme to brand themselves as an edgy alternative to mainstream conservatism and gain attention,” Ben Lorber of Political Research Associates told Owen.
A handful of people have been involved in organizing Students for Ye on college campuses, particularly one from Chicago:
Students for Ye debuted on Twitter Spaces in mid-December via Daniel Schmidt, an 18-year-old University of Chicago sophomore and wannabe far-right media mogul. He’s the editor-in-chief of “The College Dissident,” a new, right-wing student blog, which launched earlier this month and runs headlines like, ‘Time to Fight Anti-White Hatred on Campus.” Schmidt also has a substack and once posed as a host of his own news show “Piece of Schmidt” where he interviewed Tucker Carlson on camera. During that segment, which aired last July, Carlson and Schmidt discussed a wide array of topics, including anti-whiteness and why online porn is damaging young men.
… Fuentes has also been aggressively promoting Schmidt and Students for Ye. He urged his followers to help boost subscribers to the Students for Ye Telegram channel and described the initial one thousand followers as “the first believers in our grassroots movement to support a potential YE24 campaign.” (Subscribers remain stalled around 1,500.) Students for Ye has accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and a verified account on Trump’s Truth Social and has been recruiting on Fuentes’ streaming platform Cozy.tv.
White nationalists have become openly enamored of West as a result of his recent antisemitic outbursts, culminating in his removal from Twitter and the diatribes on Alex Jones’ Infowars program in which he proclaimed, among other things: “I like Hitler. The Holocaust is not what happened, let’s look at the facts of that. And Hitler has a lot of redeeming qualities.”
The accompanying wave of antisemitism and eliminationist violence worries many observers. “Historians have called the period between World War I and World War II the ‘high tide’ of American antisemitism. I think we may have to rename that: I think we are at the moment living in the high tide of American antisemitism,” Pamela Nadell, the director of the Jewish studies program at American University, told Zack Beauchamp at Vox.
As if to remind everyone where this is all heading, Fuentes—who not long ago expounded on the need to impose a “dictatorship” where they can “force people to believe what we believe”—on Monday’s program explained what people “like me and Ye” mean when they talk about how to unite everyone for a harmonious “Christian” society—namely, by going through a period where a “brutal regime” guns down people in the street if they break the laws.
Well, you gotta restore order. You gotta put soldiers on the ground, and they gotta restore law and order. You gotta go into San Francisco, you gotta go into Chicago, you gotta go into New York, and when you see looters and smash and grab and all this, these people gotta be hunted down. They just gotta be hunted down, they can’t get away with it. It’s gotta be like Tombstone. The National Guard or the Army—rather than focusing on Trump supporters and creating ISIS in the Middle East, whatever, Russia, or trying to go to war with China—let’s use DHS, and the NSA, and the FBI, and the military and the National Guard, and go after the scourge of crime! We could solve all the crime! You could go in these horrible neighborhoods, and you could clean them up in a week! It doesn’t have to happen for very long. You need to have a really brutal period where, looters just get like shot, okay? It’s gotta just be like the Wild West, it’s gotta be like Tombstone for, like, a little while.
And it’s like these people are like, ‘All right, I bet! I bet!’ And then they go and steal a catalytic converter or something, and then they just get wasted! They just gotta get wasted! They start running, and they think the cops aren’t gonna chase ‘em, and they just get wasted! They just get like, head exploded from a mile away, military snipers just blows their head off. And you know, people are gonna complain, they’re not gonna like it, but that’s the kind of thing that’s gotta happen. It’s for everybody’s benefit.
… We need a real Caesar to come in and break this cycle with like, two years, tops, of kind of like a brutal regime. And I don’t say that glibly, I don’t say that like it’s funny, it’s not funny. We’re in a crisis right now. And you need like this transition period of real brutality to break the cycle and stop this downward spiral. Because that’s what it is.
Fuentes claimed the ensuing outcome of this agenda would make America a “futuristic society.” That’s probably true, if the Mad Max series is your model.