Kanye West and Donald Trump: Comparing their egos is a sport and Trump doesn't 'get it'

The similarities between Kanye West and Donald Trump are amusing.
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The similarities between Kanye West and Donald Trump are amusing.

After Kanye West declared that he is running for president in the 2020 election, Jimmy Kimmel put together a video clip cutting his speech up with those of Donald Trump's. The similarities are amusing.

Kimmel, though, wasn't the first to compare the two.

As Time noted, "the hip-hop artist and current Republican candidate Donald Trump have been compared for their similar braggadocio and outsider status."

Trump even addressed these comparisons in a video interview with Rolling Stone.
"Somehow there are comparisons made so ...
CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS

Trump even addressed these comparisons in a video interview with Rolling Stone. "Somehow there are comparisons made so often, which is interesting, comparisons with Kanye and myself," he said, "I don't quite get it."

The New York Post published an article headlined, "What Kanye West has in common with Donald Trump."

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Kanye West has had plenty to say about Taylor Swift.
GETTY

Kanye West has had plenty to say about Taylor Swift.

TechInsider stated, "Kanye West and Donald Trump have one absurdly powerful trait in common. ... Usually, when a public figure does something outrageously embarrassing or in devastatingly poor taste, they get punished. But in the curious cases of Kanye West and Donald Trump, it's all rewards," words written before Trump's latest battle with Khizr Khan.

The Week, Bustle, Newsday and The Hollywood Reporter have all followed suit.

Trump even addressed these comparisons in a video interview with Rolling Stone.

Apart from the fact that one is a petulant pop star and the other a man who might be president, no one thinks Kanye West ...
ERIC THAYER/REUTERS

Apart from the fact that one is a petulant pop star and the other a man who might be president, no one thinks Kanye West is a danger to our prosperity, national security and democratic form of government.

"Somehow there are comparisons made so often, which is interesting, comparisons with Kanye and myself," he said, "I don't quite get it."

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Then he added, "He's actually a different kind of a person than people think. He's a nice guy. I hope to run against him some day."

One piece, a quiz created by CNN asking users to guess if various ego-centric, offensive or downright strange tweets belonged to Kanye West or Donald Trump, is genuinely difficult.

Guess, for example, which one tweeted: "Katy, what the hell were you thinking when you married loser Russell Brand. There is a guy who has got nothing going, a waste!" (Trump.)

It doesn't seem like it should be. Pit Kanye's tweets against Obama's, Bush's, Clinton's or Reagan's, and the quiz would be easier than tee-ball.

Let's be clear, Trump is no Kanye and Kanye is no Trump. Apart from the fact that one is a petulant pop star and the other a man who might be president, no one thinks Kanye West is a danger to our prosperity, national security and democratic form of government.

But with so many finding sport in comparing their traits, there's definitely "something going on," as Trump likes to say.

But what?

Both men display insatiable egos and the need to live perpetually in the news even though both profess distrust and contempt for the news media.

Kanye has tweeted, "I'd like to address the false stories and noise that have been engineered by the media," while Trump has repeatedly said things like, "We have a media that is so dishonest ... These are among the most dishonest people you will ever, ever meet," going so far to bar The Washington Post (among others) from covering his campaign.

Both men tweet in astonishingly similar fashions -- a mixture of overwhelming hubris, anger, personal attacks and barely intelligible stream-of-consciousness. Both will say almost anything to get attention.

They even both see themselves as masters of the tweet.

They're particularly adept at taking something that has absolutely nothing to do with them and, somehow, making the overarching public narrative about themselves, often at the expense of others.

A prime example is how both have used national tragedies as a way of garnering headlines.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, killing more than 1,800 people and causing an estimated US$96 billion (NZ$133 billion) in damage. During a live NBC telethon to raise money for hurricane victims, Kanye went off-script while standing next to an uncomfortable Mike Myers. Kanye famously concluded, before the feed cut away, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Whatever his intentions, Kanye's name filled headlines during one of the country's worst natural disasters. It's important to note that his second record, "Late Registration," came out the day after Katrina struck New Orleans. The telethon came three days later.

Similarly, Trump's name filled headlines after the deadliest mass shooting in American history, and not because he was offering condolences.

Instead, after a gunman killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, Trump used the opportunity to attack President Barack Obama, even seeming to connect him to terrorism.

Whether it's Kanye rapping lines in which he claims he'll have sex with Taylor Swift (while calling her "that b....") or releasing a music video featuring wax figurines depicting people like Swift and former President George W. Bush nude together in bed or Trump insisting that Obama is not American-born, the effect is the same: attention.

For example, two days before the scheduled release of his newest record, The Life of Pablo, Kanye inexplicably tweeted this:

"BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!"

The Web filled with stories about his tweet. They all also mentioned his new record.

Trump, meanwhile, fuelled the "birther" movement, an act which McKay Coppins in a BuzzFeed feature suggested demonstrated to Trump the potential political rewards of being outrageous in the eyes of the "establishment." He wrote:

"While the conspiracy theory was not a hit with the ladies of The View, it delighted conservative voters and cable news bookers alike - and soon Trump found himself climbing in the hypothetical 2012 presidential polls."

Another common trait: When criticised or confronted, both of these men often dodge the substance of the criticism, in favour of declaring the critic somehow ineligible to judge them and therefore to be disregarded, either because, in Trump's case, they're "losers" or "Mexican," or in West's case, because they're white.

After Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg publicly announced her opposition to a Trump presidency, the candidate tweeted this:

"Justice Ginsburg of the US Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot -- resign!"

And when some critics didn't like Kanye's newest album, he simply denoted their criticism as invalid:

"To Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, New York Times, and any other white publication. Please do not comment on black music anymore."

In some ways, the comparison is an insult to Kanye.

Whereas Trump only pretends to donate generously to charity, Kanye actually does. Kanye has a reputation as a generous pop star, helping raise the profile of lesser known artists like then up-and-coming rappers Lupe Fiasco and Chief Keef to shedding light on old greats like British folk jazz musician Labi Siffre with each record. Meanwhile, Trump enjoys taking credit for seemingly everything.

Still, perhaps we can conclude that maybe Trump's campaign offers a sliver of insight into what a Kanye 2020 campaign might actually look like.

 - The Washington Post

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