Robert Ritchie, the musician known as Kid Rock, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan. Ritchie was born in the Detroit suburb of Macomb County and spent his youth climbing Michigan’s music scene and much of his adult life giving back to his home state.
His potential candidacy is causing a stir in political circles. Kid Rock hasn’t officially declared he’s in the race, but he’s been teasing a run for months, including at a Sept. 16 concert in Detroit.
Daniel Allott attended the concert and asked his fans why they think he’d make a good senator. “He keeps it real, he’s honest,” a woman wearing a “Kid Rock for Senate” shirt said. “He’s working class,” her husband added.
Kid Rock is crude and crass and an unapologetic drug user. At one point during his performance, a giant inflatable middle finger rose up on the stage’s platform. But his working class upbringing and local philanthropy make him an ideal candidate to represent Michigan, his fans said. “He’s a local young man who started with nothing, like most of us, and worked himself up to something, but he’s never forgotten where he’s come from,” said Dennis, whom I met near the concessions at the brand-new Little Caesars Arena.
Kid Rock has been a political lightning rod in part because he used to display the Confederate flag at his concerts. There seemed to be very few non-whites at his concert in Detroit, a city that is 80 percent black. But he’s not racist, his fans insist. He has a black son and his opening act and many of his band members are black.
Walking up to “Hail to the Chief,” he gave a stump speech in front of a lectern labeled with “United States of ‘merica.” He talked about healthcare, transgender bathrooms, and even said a prayer. He also touched on race.
“I love black people! And I love white people, too!” he shouted at one point. “But neither as much as I love red, white and blue!”
This video was originally featured as a part of the Washington Examiner’s series The Race To 2020: The people and places that will define a presidency. You can watch more videos here.