Well … it was fun while it lasted. And when I say “while it lasted,” I mean almost one whole fortnight, or maybe even less. The dream of President Kanye West has been dashed, as the rapper has called a halt to the gathering of petitions necessary to get on the November ballot in key states. But did anyone lose anything for the effort, or did we gain something — if nothing else, a renewed sense of civic duty, perhaps?
The 43-year-old rapper’s campaign has reportedly been suspended less than two weeks after he shocked the nation with a tweet that confirmed his decision to run for president of the United States in November.
According to a new report from Intelligencer, a “get-out-the-vote specialist” named Steve Kramer claims West is already “out” after the Yeezy founder hired both “paid and volunteer” staff to help him secure signatures in Florida and South Carolina to get him on the ballot.
Kramer claimed West’s team was “working over weekend there, formalizing the FEC and other things that they’ve got to do when you have a lot of corporate lawyers involved.”
The specialist claimed there was “overwhelming support” to get West on the ballot.
Except that West didn’t need to get on “the” ballot; he needed to get on 50 ballots. Presidents are elected state by state; there is no such thing as a federal ballot. As Allahpundit pointed out last week, the deadlines for ballot entry in several states had already passed, and more were coming up fast. That’s why people don’t jump into presidential races with only four months left before the general election, at least those who take a bid seriously.
According to Kramer, though, West did take it seriously, at least in terms of his motivation if not his grasp of election mechanics. But was that out of a desire for service, or just the manifestation of a manic episode for the bipolar music star? Maybe both:
But this time may — at least for a moment — be different. According to multiple campaign professionals who spoke with Intelligencer, West took early steps last week toward getting his name on the ballot in Florida and other states as a third-party candidate running against Joe Biden and Donald Trump. …
On Wednesday, July 8, around the time West tweeted and deleted an image of a fetus at the six-month mark of gestation with the caption “these souls deserve to live,” I was connected with a source who had been approached to work for the rapper’s presidential campaign. The source, who asked not to be named, was a political operative who had experience in this kind of work. I was extremely skeptical — but after talking with this person and others, I was convinced that West (or someone close to him) was at least toying with a real-life plan to build a campaign operation.
The source had been approached about going to Florida on West’s behalf to help gather the signatures needed to make the ballot in the state by the July 15 deadline. This person was offered $5,000 for the week’s work. In order to qualify for the ballot in the Sunshine State, West would need to gather 132,781 valid signatures from Florida voters in less than a week.
On the morning of July 9, TMZ reported that West’s family was concerned that the billionaire rapper was suffering a bipolar episode based on his presidential aspirations. The well-sourced tabloid website added “our sources say his family and those close to him are worried, but they believe things will stabilize as they have in the past.”
If that’s the case, there are worse manifestations of this than a desire to serve one’s country. It is something to keep in mind when West takes sudden flights of fancy, especially when the idea is so obviously impractical, but in retrospect not altogether without its charm. That impulse is quite touching in its own way, especially these days.
At any rate, this was doomed to failure from the beginning. If West does have any desire for a future presidential run, he at least learned a lesson about the difficulties of doing so outside of the normal major-party nomination process. Perhaps some of his fans got an opportunity to look at the machinery of candidacies as well, which means that this might have given everyone a salutary benefit for little cost to anyone. There are worse ways of spending a fortnight, again especially these days.