Michael Wyke / AP
A late-night tweet from Kanye West this week reinforced the impression that the founding Republican is helping musician and fashion designer in his quest to get the ballot in some states as is the third party candidate for the presidency.
“I’m willing to do a face-to-face interview with the New York Time[s] about my meeting with Jared, where we discussed Dr. Claude Anderson’s book Powernomics, “the post said.
I’m willing to do a live interview with New York Time about my meeting with Jared, where we discuss Dr. Claude Anderson’s book Powernomics.
– Ye (@kanyewest) August 12, 2020
“Jared” is Jared Kushner, son-in-law of President Trump and White House adviser.
The New York Times reported that Kushner and West met separately last weekend in Colorado. Neither the White House nor West’s camp responded to NPR’s requests for comment.
News of the meeting followed other reports suggesting that Republican-affiliated agents are working to put the West to vote in several states, part of strategy of using the West to draw votes of major party candidates.
Once a blunt supporter of Trump, West told Forbes that he no longer backs the president and he will not “argue” that he appears to be running a destructive campaign.
Pool / Getty Images
Contacted before West’s post on Twitter, Trump’s campaign denied any involvement with West. Following his post about meeting with Kushner, a campaign spokesperson forwarded questions to the White House, where it did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump told reporters last week that he liked the West but “it has nothing to do with his being on the ballot.”
The Republican National Committee also declined any coordination.
“Everything about Kanye is news to us, just like it for you. Our sole focus is to re-elect the president and the thousands of major Republican candidates running across the country. “RNC’s national press secretary, Mandi Merritt, told NPR in an email.
Here are some attempts to put West on the state ballots:
Republican Chuck Wilton originally signed as one of the three electoral electors for West in Vermont. He had also been elected a few months earlier by the Vermont Republican Party to represent Trump at the Republican National Congress, along with his wife Wendy, who was appointed by Trump.
But three days after submitting the first application, the Western campaign contacted the Vermont foreign minister’s electoral office and withdrew Wilton as electoral and replaced him with Bradford Boyles. Wilton could not be reached for comment.
In a phone call with NPR, Wendy Wilton declined to comment on the reason behind her husband’s withdrawal, only confirming that he was no longer a Western electorate.
In an interview with NPR, Boyles, former chairman of the Rutland County Republican Party currently working as a film and television producer, declined to say who in the West’s campaign had approached. you to become an elector. He said he was recruited because of his media work in Los Angeles.
“I don’t know what the Republican leader is doing to help or not to help Kanye. My choices here are independent of any national party effort,” Boyles said.
Lane Ruhland, a former legal advisor to the Wisconsin Republican Party, was seen last week having removed the signature in order for West to qualify in Wisconsin.
Ruhland, who did not respond to a request for comment, represented the Trump campaign in a lawsuit in late July.
Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Regulatory Office to “investigate whether attorney Lane Ruhland was committing conduct that was inconsistent with her ethical obligations to status as a member of the Wisconsin Attorney or not. “
“The fact that a Trump campaign lawyer is working to get Kanye West on the ballot shows that the Western campaign is a sham,” CFA CEO Michelle Kuppersmith said in a statement.
An attorney at the Ohio law firm, Isaac Wiles has filed West’s paperwork in the state. That company is said to have received thousands of dollars in legal advice fees from Republican lobbying committees in the House and Senate since 2015.
ABC reports that of the nine Colorado electors for West, four current or former GOP members, including a former political director of the Colorado Republican Party.
Vice News reported that Rachel George, a GOP strategist who runs her own media company and previously worked for Republican Senator Cory Gardner while he was in the House of Representatives, sent emails to The contact asked them to register in favor of the West.
In an email that Vice got, George wrote: “I have the most random condition to ask you … can you help me get Kanye West on the ballot in Colorado? No, I’m not joking, and I am realize this is hilarious. “
‘Strange and unusual’
Barry Burden, director of the Center for Election Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that though it’s not uncommon for a political party or party activists to try to keep a candidate. Turn off one vote, the opposite is ‘strange and unusual.’
“We never really saw it [that] before, “said Burden.
“If this were to happen in just one state, and that there were some Republicans supporting Kanye West’s campaign, it would seem a bit weird and a little unexpected,” he said. “But because we’re seeing it now in many states, those who are expected to be electors, delegates or Republican attorneys working on behalf of Kanye West’s attempt to get the leaves vote, it’s like something systematic and organized over large parts of the Country. “
The role of ‘spoiler’
Burden studied the effects that third-party candidates can have on the presidential race and said the calculations focus on two factors: attracting new voters and taking votes from major parties.
For example, Ross Perot, who ran for president as an independent candidate in 1992, has a blend of policy positions – both conservative and liberal – and thus he taking votes from both Republican George HW Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton.
It’s not like Ralph Nader, who ran as a Green Party candidate in 2000, sided on the left side of Democrat Al Gore to reach disgruntled liberals. Nader drew the vote from Gore.
So what does that logic mean for the West?
Burden said there was a chance the West could attract some new voters.
“Some of them will be young, dissatisfied voters who may not have voting experience at all, but are attracted to the novelty of his campaign,” he said.
But he says that the second factor – the candidate West will vote on – is not necessarily the same candidate.
“Some Republicans believe he will hurt Biden more than Trump, but I don’t think it’s clear,” Burden said.
Much of Trump’s 2016 support came from voters who said they were tired of the status quo and willing to give an outsider from the entertainment industry a chance – descriptors also applied to The West.
Furthermore, West appears to have a conservative stance on issues such as school prayer and abortion, which makes him less likely to entice Democratic voters to vote for Biden.
Burden says any real effect by the West on state votes could affect how tight the election is.
“If this election happens almost like the one four years ago, any little thing can change,” he said.
Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University, says she imagined some Republicans might think the West could attract Black voters who didn’t see Biden’s vote. Harris is a full-fledged civil rights activist.
“But the problem is that Kanye West is an ideologically inappropriate person for that kind of voter,” she explained.
“West showing off [mental health] The struggles happened in moments where he made some really controversial remarks, the historical comments, the race was really alien to many African Americans, “she said. to speak.
These comments included West’s claim during a campaign rally in South Carolina that Harriet Tubman’s abolitionism “never truly freed slaves.”
A few days later, his wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, posted an announcement of his health on her Instagram live story.
“As many of you know, Kanye has bipolar disorder. Anyone who has it or has a loved one who has it, understands how complicated and painful it is.” she wrote. “People close to Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes don’t match his intentions.”
West mentioned his diagnosis of bipolar disorder during the extensive televised meeting in the Oval Office with Trump in 2018.
Gillespie says there are many facets to establishing Republican support for the West beyond political strategy.
“I’m really concerned with its morality – not just the accusation of trying to support a bad third-party candidate in an election, but just taking advantage of one person. someone is clearly not under control of her mental illness, “she said.