Kanye West, Presidential Hopeful, Receiving Help from GOP Members

Kanye West

The Republican party’s interest in Kanye West has been confirmed as more than idle intrigue.

What We Know:

  • Typically political candidates have partisan legal operatives that are made available to them in their campaign endeavors; that is not exactly the case for Kanye’s “Birthday Party” under which he is “walking” for president. GOP affiliated lawyers & strategists have been helping Kanye file paperwork in key states such as Wisconsin, a critical swing state.
  • According to the Los Angeles Times, Kanye’s qualifying paperwork for Wisconsin was dropped off by Lane Ruhland, an attorney representing the Trump campaign in a lawsuit. Ruhland has also done legal work for the Republican National Committee, former Republican Governor Scott Walker, and the state Republican Party on election matters.
  • In Ohio, another key swing state, the paperwork was dropped off by an attorney from Isaac Wiles, a Columbus law firm that has reportedly received tens of thousands of dollars in fees from state Republican campaign committees since 2015.
  • Mark Jacoby, an executive at Let the Voters Decide, has been collecting signatures for Kanye’s campaign in three states, according to a New York Times report. Having been arrested for voter fraud in 2008 while working for the California Republican Party and pleading guilty, he insisted that his group is nonpartisan and supports the rights of “anyone who is qualified to stand for election”.
  • Gregg Keller, who is listed as a contact for Kanye’s campaign in Arkansas, is the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, and, according to the New York Times, was under consideration to be Trump’s campaign manager in 2015.
  • Chuck Wilton, who is listed as a Vermont convention delegate for Trump, is an elector with Kanye’s campaign who could potentially cast an Electoral College vote for him.
  • According to Vice News, in Colorado, GOP state operative, Rachel George, emailed another state operative asking, “Would you help me get Kanye West on the ballot in Colorado? No, I am not joking, and I realize this is hilarious.” Neither operative has commented on the incident.
  • This apparent aid from the GOP is coming in the midst of, according to Kim Kardashian West, a bipolar episode Kanye is facing. This has increased the claims of alleged manipulation of Kanye by the Republican Party. In an interview with Forbes, Kanye did not deny the claims that he is only running to bleed votes from Biden. “I’m not denying it, I just told you. To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.”
  • In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist unaffiliated with the Biden campaign, stated, “One of the oldest tricks in the political playbook is to run a third-party candidate to try and bleed support from your opponent. What’s different here is the third-party candidate is a hip-hop artist who has said nice things about the current president before.” He went on to say, “I don’t believe African Americans are going to vote for Kanye simply because he’s on the ballot. There’s simply too much at stake.”
  • A poll performed by Redfield and Wilton Strategies in July found that, out of 2,000 registered voters, there was only 2% support for Kanye’s candidacy; most respondents said they did not think Kanye’s campaign was serious.
  • According to University of Tulsa’s associate professor of political science, Matt Hindman, who is known for his research on third-party candidates and ballot-access laws, the notably small percentage of people who might vote for Kanye are not truly guaranteed to otherwise vote for Biden.
  • Nathan Gonzales, the editor and publisher of Inside Elections, a nonpartisan guide to elections, believes that, because it is a tight race, Kanye could tip the scale from one candidate to another. He went on to clarify, “We’re still a long way from knowing whether Kanye will have any impact,” noting that the answer lies in which state ballots Kanye will actually qualify for.
  • Kanye has already missed too many state filing deadlines to actually be a mathematically plausible contender. It has not yet been confirmed that his Wisconsin petition was submitted in time. He missed the mark on signatures needed to qualify for Illinois and California and missed the deadlines for Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada – states in which a third-party candidate is more likely to tilt the scale.
  • Gonzales went on to state, “For people to say, ‘Oh, Kanye is Black so he’ll take Black voters from Biden’ is a gross oversimplification of a more complex situation.”
  • This understanding did not seem to stop President Trump making this tweet in July:

  • Trump has denied all implications of involvement in Kanye’s campaign or candidacy, stating in a White House press conference, “Other than I get along with him very well…I have nothing to do with him getting on the ballot. We’ll have to see what happens. We’ll see if he gets on the ballot but I’m not involved.”
  • Kanye has shown apparent support for Trump since the beginning of his term, often sporting a Make America Great Again hat and meeting the president in the Oval Office and at Trump’s hotels. It is believed that Kanye’s attempt to draw the Black vote away from Biden is based in alleged efforts to get Trump reelected.

Neither Kanye or any of his representatives have made a comment regarding the GOP’s involvement in his campaign or his hopes for the November election.