Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus


Cardi B performing in 2019 at the Openair Frauenfeld in Switzerland. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.


No, this is not a joke or a drill. No, I’m not a stan. Uncertain times just call for uncertain measures.

Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, aka Cardi B, would not necessarily be the worst option for President of the United States. In fact, she might just be right up there, battling with the best of the Bidens and the Sanders’ and the Warren – well, not her anymore.

It’s not as asinine a notion as one would immediately think. B’s always been active when it comes to political commentary and speaking up about the failings of the government. And she’d be strutting into the race armed with an impressive knowledge of the American political system, governance, and the history of the office she’d be running for. She’s even taken down conservative political commentators like Tomi Lahren and Mindy Robinson. And focusing on the faults of the opposition instead of championing your own beliefs, isn’t that what being a Democrat is all about?

Yes, B has a tendency to run her mouth on occasion. But so do many other world leaders. And being outspoken is definitely an important skill to have to rep for an entire nation. Also, imagine how entertaining it would be to have B in long french-tip nails and a leopard-print pantsuit, going “awhff” and expertly shutting down jabs in a Presidential Debate. Her ability to handle critique is evidenced by her entire discography.

Okay, B doesn’t necessarily have the “image” that you’d expect of a world leader. She joined a gang when she was 16 and started stripping when she was 19. And those acts are right below Nixon’s Watergate and Clinton’s Interngate. However, she has the kind of “started from the bottom” image that could easily pull in large crowds of working class and less financially stable voters. Her life spent trying to escape poverty and struggling to rise above her upbringing gives her an inspirational storyline, the kind they usually make cheesy biopics out of. She knows what working class Americans want, having spoken up about minimum wage, student debt, and even *gasp*, climate change. Although, I don’t think there’s much that can be done about her views of the poh-leeceses.

Fine, B has quite the scandalous relationship with profanity and a general lack of “sophistication” when she speaks. But…actually, no, that might be a problem.

The biggest thing standing in B’s way would be a general lack of acceptance. The American public would be largely unwilling to accept the fact that the woman who turned the coronavirus into a viral (pun unintended) meme and hit song could ever be worthy of office. That is, the part of the American public that even has a goddamn clue who she is. But, keep in mind, it’s that influence that got her video rant about the Coronavirus over 27 million views (and counting), as opposed to the daily White House live updates that garner over 100,000 views at best. If anyone can take us through the Coronavirus, it just might be Cardi B. Try not to let that scare you.

The presidential campaign is, when it comes down to it, a popularity contest. And, with her over 61 million Instagram followers, 10 million Twitter followers, and 12 million subscribers on YouTube, B easily outpaces most of her competition in terms of following and clout. The TYLT even ran a poll ascertaining whether she should run, and almost 27% voters agreed that she should give it a shot (73% voters did think that she should “stick to music,” but we won’t talk about that).

She’s committed to promoting political awareness among the lesser privileged and the youth of America, both her biggest markets should she decide to run. She’s considered a modern musical icon and would be able to bring a lot of young voters to the booths, more than the current candidates, most of whom classify strictly as “old, white, passé.” She’s also bilingual and has Dominican and Trinidadian heritage, which would garner the votes of the immigrant population, already frustrated with having to potentially use their spare toilet paper to fortify the Wall.

Her mere presence would shift the narrative from “Could a woman be President?” to “Could Cardi B be President?” And once you realize that she, possibly, maybe, surprisingly, stands a chance, the sexist conversation would grind to a halt. She has the relatability of a Warren, the ubiquitous reach of a Clinton, and, mind you, the support and friendship of one Bernie Sanders, who she’s had political discussions with. In fact, People for Bernie even created a mock campaign sign for her, ensuring her the votes of the Bernie Bros.

What separates B from her celebrity contemporaries is that she doesn’t simply try to be a part of the political conversation because she feels like she needs to. She tries because she wants to. She truly cares about her country and its governance and shows a desire to grow and work on her flaws. Behind all the “okurrr” and “awhn” toting, there’s a semblance of brilliance. You just have to look deep… no, deeper, beyond the ample bosom and illegal butt injections.

But B’s practical. She’s spoken about her political aspirations in the past, but is smart enough to know that her lack of a college education could be a detriment. She’s mentioned how she wants to go back to school, pick up some knowledge points, and then start a political career by running for Congress. Now if only everyone had the foresight to work their way up to the big leagues…

No matter what you (and everyone else) think and what you (and everyone else) say, you can’t deny, there’s a certain charisma to B’s cadence. Like a true millennial influencer, she draws you in and convinces you to at least give what she’s selling a chance. She may be a little too raw for such high aspirations at present (and a tad bit late for the 2020 run), but one image makeover and artful montage later, she just might be what we need to…make America great again (I apologize).

But what do I know? I’m from India, it’s not like I can vote. Maybe I’ll just leave it to the American population to decide whether they want to vote for a former reality TV star with a lack of social tact. Oh, wait…

Ahad Sanwari is a graduate student in NYU’s Magazine and Digital Storytelling program.


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