Wouldn’t you think that a billionaire running for president would hire people that can tell time? Kanye West lost his effort to get on the ballot in Wisconsin because his lawyer missed the filing deadline by a matter of one or two minutes. I’m not kidding.
Truth is stranger than fiction and this story validates that expression. When Kanye West hired his election lawyer, Lane Ruhland, he probably thought she was a smart choice for the job. She is a former general counsel for the state Republican Party who has also represented the Trump reelection campaign. I know what you’re thinking after reading those last words – the Trump reelection campaign? Is this further proof that Kanye is a stalking horse? Who knows?
The West campaign has been bizarre from the beginning, to put it mildly. He announced his candidacy, running as a candidate for the Birthday Party, Then he withdrew from the race but kept filing to run. So, it’s impossible to believe that anyone other than Kanye himself knows what in the world he is doing. To me, it looks like he isn’t really even trying to do a campaign but to stir things up and provide a distraction.
It’s not impossible, though to believe that he is running to dilute the Black vote from Biden on the Democrat ticket. But that can end up going either way. Maybe he’ll take votes from Trump, too.
Wisconsin is a swing state critical to President Donald Trump’s reelection fight and a place where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by less than 30,000 votes. Some political observers saw West as a potential spoiler who could pull Black voters from Joe Biden in November, but a recent poll POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed West getting a mere 2 percent support overall among registered voters and Black voters. So far, West has qualified to be on the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont.
Alas, his lawyer was late and missed the filing deadline. After a 2 1/2 hour meeting, the decision was made to deny West’s application.
“When you’re late, you’re late,” Commissioner Julie Glancey said during a 2½ hour hearing at which the panel voted 5-1 against West. “We’ve knocked people off the ballot for being one signature short. If we are holding their feet to the fire on the number of signatures, we need to hold their feet to the fire on the time they file.”
One elections commissioner in Wisconsin said it was ironic that Democrats “have spent billions of dollars” to make it easier for constituents to vote, but weren’t interested in making it easier for candidates to file, as well.
Ironic, indeed. Now, however, Kanye’s representatives are off to Illinois, his home state, to defend the validity of the signatures collected to get him on the ballot there. A hearing is set for today.
Collecting — and challenging — the signatures needed to get on the ballot in the Land of Lincoln is traditional election-season warfare, unlike almost anywhere else in the nation, and West’s team seems unprepared. West’s petitions will come under scrutiny for turning in 1,200 valid signatures, far short of the 2,500 needed to get on the ballot in Illinois.
That doesn’t sound very hopeful, does it? Kanye is counting on write-in votes to make him competitive in states where his name is not printed on the ballot. Sounds like wishing for unicorns and rainbows but it also sounds very Kanye. The man has a very healthy ego. During an interview with Forbes, he refused to deny he is running to take votes away from Biden.
The acclaimed rapper told the publication that he was “walking … to win” the presidency, but when it was pointed out that he wouldn’t be on the ballot in enough states to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the White House, West answered, “I’m not going to argue with you. Jesus is King.”
And, so it goes in 2020. Every time we think things can’t get any stranger, they do, don’t they?