Kanye West says he’s running for president as a member of “The Birthday Party”, but it’s Republican operatives who appear to be steering his campaign.
As The New York Times reports, at least four key figures in Republican politics have been working to get Kanye’s name on the presidential ballot. And of those individuals, three of them have direct connections with Donald Trump’s own presidential campaign.
— Mark Jacoby, who previously pleaded guilty to voter fraud in 2008, currently heads a “non-partisan” group called Let the Voters Decide. He’s been collecting signatures for Kanye in Ohio, West Virginia, and Arkansas, according to the Times.
— Greg Keller, who was once under consideration to be Trump’s campaign manager, is listed as a contact for Kanye’s campaign in Arkansas.
— Chuck Wilton, a *current* convention delegate for Trump in Vermont, is one of three electors Kanye’s campaign named in a filing submitted with Vermont’s secretary of State on Monday, according to New York Magazine.
— Republican elections lawyer Lane Ruthland, who is *currently* representing the Trump campaign in a case before federal court, was seen dropping off ballot signatures for Kanye in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday, according to Vice.
These known associations have led to renewed questions regarding the aim of Kanye’s campaign. Kanye’s late entry into the race caused him to miss the ballot deadlines in a number of states (239 electoral votes’ worth!), and he’s facing ballot challenges in Illinois and Missouri. Mind you, there’s only 538 total electoral votes up for grabs. In order to obtain the 270 electoral college votes required to win the presidency, he’d need to get his name on the ballot of every remaining state and then sweep them all come election night. Either that, or convince tens of millions of Americans to vote for him as a write-in candidate. Both propositions are absolutely ludicrous.
All that’s without mentioning Kanye’s ongoing mental health issues. His wife, Kim Kardashian-West, recently confirmed that her husband is experiencing a bipolar episode, and has asked that the public give her family “compassion and empathy” as they seek to get Kanye the help he needs. TMZ reports that Kanye recently joined his family for a much-needed vacation on a tropical island outside of the country, and there are no campaign events on his schedule.
So if Kanye’s chances of winning the election are virtually impossible, and his own family acknowledges that he’s going through a serious mental health episode, who’s driving the continued efforts to get Kanye’s name on state ballots? The obvious answer is that it’s an effort by Republicans to hurt Trump’s main rival, Democratic candidate Joe Biden, by depressing the Black vote.
The only problem, of course, is that recent polling suggests that Kanye’s name on the ballot actually has a negative impact on Trump himself.