“Bitch, I’m the Mayor!”: Imagining the Cardi B Platform
The inimitable “Bodak Yellow” rapper has made a lot of political comments, and we’ve put together a platform that could get her vote.
Cardi B performs at Coachella, 2018. Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella
Cardi B likes the Balenciaga boots that look like socks, scammers, Chrissy Teigen, and former U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “This man was suffering from polio at the time of his presidency,” she told Caity Weaver in a recent profile in GQ, “and yet all he was worried about was trying to make America great.”
Many people are famous because they’re hot and talented, but the truly great celebrities are those who contain multitudes, the larger-than-life figures who grow more fascinating the closer you get. A songwriter, hustler, businesswoman, poet, stripper, and genius, Belacalis Almanzar, alias Cardi B, is the woman who bought a burnt orange Bentley worth $240,000 as “Bodak Yellow” was climbing up the Billboard Top 100 charts, even though she can’t drive—and why would she want to, she’s from the Bronx!—because it’s something rappers are supposed to have. She’s the woman who wakes up at 3 a.m. to go to the studio, and the woman who carries a blanket with her face on it to the airport. And she is also obsessed with politics. She can rattle off all of the presidents in order—“I’m always watching the news,” she told GQ—and has articulated strong opinions on the makings of a good politician and a good citizen. She’s even been recognized by the left-wing establishment, in the form of a Bernie Sanders tweet seconding her take on Social Security.
Rather than following the political tide—something Cardi doesn’t really do, per her criticism of the #MeToo movement’s omissions—Cardi B has a political worldview, even a platform. This is not to say that she should run for office: everyone loves Cardi B, but the skills that makes a politician effective are only superficially similar to those of a celebrity, and—unpopular opinion!—it could be the downfall of the Democratic Party to throw support behind famous candidates. It’s necessary training for public office to sit through arduous school board meetings and get yelled at on the radio at least once about someone washing their dog in the public water fountains, and these are not the sorts of experiences celebrities typically have. Instead, a thought experiment: if you had to design a candidate specifically to get Cardi B’s vote, a candidate as whip-smart, hardworking, and genuine as the musician herself, what would they run on? For the sake of ideological range, it should be a national election, and New York City doesn’t elect many Republican senators or congresspeople, so let’s say, I don’t know...president.
First, Cardi B would vote for a candidate who would protect the legacy of her favorite president, FDR, with strong support for Social Security, the object of attack from Republicans led by noted fitspo influencer Paul Ryan. “[FDR is] the real ‘Make America Great Again,’” she told GQ, “because if it wasn't for him, old people wouldn't even get Social Security.” (“Cardi B is right,” Bernie Sanders tweeted in reference to her comments.) Although she hasn’t said anything about Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs—particularly Medicare and Medicaid—we can make an educated guess that she’d support them, too. Cardi B is a bad bitch who loves big government.
Still, Cardi B is a pretty solid capitalist and does not want taxes raised. “The government is taking 40% of my taxes,” she ranted in March. “Uncle Sam, I want to know what you’re doing with my fucking tax money...I want receipts.” According to The Washington Post , which analyzed how that tax money was being spent, most of it would go to social service programs, but in the video, Cardi lists as her grievances dirty streets, rats in the subway, and bad conditions at prisons, and she wants her tax dollars to fix those things, too. She also unabashedly loooves making money, something she does for herself, as well as for her parents and the daughter she’s expecting with fiancée Offset: “I’ll do something that brings me a check,” she told The Cut last year, before she was pregnant. “The faster I make a lot of money, the faster I can have these kids I want.” Being a “boss” is a good thing, being a “worker bitch” isn’t; so frankly, it seems unlikely that Cardi B would vote for a Socialist, and that is okay.
Cardi B is a bad bitch who loves big government.
As a child of immigrants—her father is from the Dominican Republic, her mother is from Trinidad—it seems unlikely that Cardi B would tolerate an anti-immigrant candidate. That means support for the DREAM Act and for sanctuary cities like her native New York. She’s also bilingual, so the ideal candidate would be a fluent Spanish-speaker as well, and not in the Tim Kaine way.
Does Cardi B support the prison-industrial complex? Hell no, and she would want a president who feels the same way! In her aforementioned tax rant, she singles out prisons for inhumane conditions, that inmates are given “two underwears one jumpsuit in five months,” and she’s had friends caught up in the system: her ex-boyfriend Tommy Geez spent four years in prison for a gun charge, and Cardi has expressed sadness that her best friend, Star Brim, recently turned herself in to serve her time for wire fraud. As a possible affiliate of a certain red-wearing group, Cardi would be against gang injunctions and their extremely legally fuzzy, inherently racist criteria. Cardi may not be a prison abolitionist, but she recognizes that the system is broken and probably wants mass incarceration to end.
On gun control, our Cardi B candidate would absolutely get an F from the NRA. As Weaver writes in GQ, “Cardi B feels New York’s ‘extremely strict’ gun laws should apply nationwide. She is pro-mental evaluations for purchasers and thinks the minimum age to own a gun should be raised, even above 21.” New York’s gun laws also have banned assault weapons since 2013, the subject of national debate following school shootings in Florida and Texas; the Cardi president would throw their influence towards getting a nationwide ban passed.
Finally, Cardi B really, really doesn’t like Donald Trump, and cares about having a president who represents her nation well to the world. After Trump’s vile and racist characterization of Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries,” Cardi tweeted, “Trump is soo disgusting !I hate him Soo much .Im starting to hate him with a fucking passion,” followed by three lobster-red angry emojis. She told GQ of her passion for political science: “You concerned about it because you are a citizen of America; you are a citizen of the world.” Citizenship means a lot to Cardi B, and she’d want a president who would serve honorably as a steward of public office.
Which 2020 hopefuls fit? Bernie Sanders agrees with Cardi on social programs, but his expensive proposals might be a turn-off; Kamala Harris is great on immigration, not so great on prisons; and Cardi might still be mad at New York governor Andrew Cuomo after calling him out for a rat infestation in the Bronx. The perfect candidate here may not exist. Maybe that candidate is actually just Cardi B, although going straight to the presidential race is inadvisable. But she could start local. As she raps in “Drip”: “Ride through your hood like, ‘Bitch, I'm the mayor!’” As long as she’s not driving to City Hall at 11 a.m. after a leisurely workout at the Park Slope YMCA, I’m into it.