Sunday, August 23, 2020

Kushner's Other Presidential Campaign-- Kanye


3 stooges

If there is a "brain" behind the curtain of Kanye West's dysfunctional presidential campaign-- a blatant attempt to bolster Trump by drawing black and millennial voters away from Biden-- it is Jared Kushner. Kushner has always projected a higher opinion of himself than his results have merited. His high school tutor told me he was incredibly stupid and could only get into college because of his father's multi-million dollar gifts.

That Kanye's campaign is a non-starter can be lain at Kushner's feet-- as can the illegal nature of the campaign, at least according to Paul Ryan, writing for last week.
A provision of federal law known as the “soft money ban” prohibits candidates and their agents like Kushner from soliciting contributions that exceed amount limits or come from prohibited sources (e.g., foreign contributions). Federal law defines “contribution” broadly to include “any gift... of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office” and “anything of value includes all in-kind contributions.” Contributions from one candidate committee to another are limited to $2,000. And the FEC by regulation defines “solicit” to mean “to ask, request, or recommend, explicitly or implicitly, that another person make a contribution, donation, transfer of funds, or otherwise provide anything of value.”

If Kushner has explicitly or implicitly requested or recommended that West spend money on West’s candidacy, with the motivation of having West siphon votes from Joe Biden, then Kushner has arguably violated federal law by soliciting in-kind contributions from West to Trump in excess of the applicable $2,000 contribution limit. Under this theory, every dollar West spends on his campaign with Kushner’s encouragement is an in-kind contribution. And West has spent well in excess of $2,000 on his campaign efforts to date, including, for example, payment of $35,000 filing fee to the State of Oklahoma to have his name on the ballot.
Now if Kanye siphons off a bunch of votes from Biden in totally red states like Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia, who cares? Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia aren't states where Biden will even be competing. And it doesn't matter in overwhelmingly blue states like Illinois and Vermont either, since Trump isn't competing in them. The problem is when Kushner tries getting him onto the ballot-- with the help of GOP operatives-- in swing states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Arizona, Montana and Virginia.

Yesterday Ben Jacobs reported that "In a span of two days, West was booted from the ballot in five states: Illinois, Montana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In Illinois, Montana, and West Virginia, it was because he filed an insufficient number of valid signatures. In Wisconsin, it was because West did not file on time. In Ohio, the information and signature on West’s nominating petition and his statement of candidacy did not match those on petitions circulated to be signed. West has filed in several other states in this week: Louisiana, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Virginia, but it is unclear if he will ultimately qualify to appear on the ballot in all of them."
West may face particular issues in Virginia, where seven of the thirteen electors that West submitted told [Jacobs] they were either unaware that they signed up to cast electoral votes on his behalf, or that they had signed notarized paperwork connected to the rapper’s presidential bid at all.

“Is this a joke?” one of the electors, Ilisa Stillman, asked when reached by [Jacobs]. “Holy guacamole,” she replied when informed it was not. “I’m certainly not supporting Kanye West,” she made clear before ending the conversation.

Another elector, Sariah Cutler, said that someone approached her at the mall for what she was told was “a petition just to put somebody’s name on the ballot.” She went on to ask, “Is there any way I can take my name off?”

“There was no mention of Kanye West,” explained Matthew Wilson, who said he was walking in downtown Norfolk when he was asked to sign for a third party candidate to be on the ballot. He sounded stunned when told what he had signed up for. “Ain’t no way in the world,” Wilson responded, adding that if he had known that he was being approached on the rapper’s behalf, “I would have walked away.”

...Invariably, the electors had been approached during the petition gathering effort in Virginia. The state requires at least 200 valid signatures from each of its 11 congressional districts and a total of at least 2500 valid signatures statewide.

The Virginia strategy marked a change in approach from the campaign’s earlier efforts finding electors-- the people who would, were the candidate to win the state, vote for them in the Electoral College. Early in West’s campaign, the rapper personally selected people to appear on his behalf as electors. The consultation process as he handpicked people reportedly delayed operations in several states and served as further impediment to the campaign’s already-rushed signature gathering efforts.

More recently, West’s elector slates have been jam-packed with Republican operatives and activists. In Vermont, Chuck Wilton, a GOP delegate to next week’s 2020 Republican National Convention, was selected as a West elector. The rapper’s elector slates in both Wisconsin and Colorado had a number of Republican activists, as well. In the latter state, Vice News reported that a Republican operative, Rachel George, had sent an email recruiting electors for West in advance of the filing deadline.

Indeed, a number of Republican operatives have been involved in West’s campaign. Gregg Keller, the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, appeared as the campaign’s point of contact when the rapper filed in Arkansas and, in Wisconsin, Lane Ruhland, a lawyer representing the Trump campaign in court, filed on West’s behalf. In Louisiana, West’s forms and elector slate were notarized by Bryan Jeansonne, a prominent Republican activist and member of the Louisiana Republican Party’s central committee. (His law firm, Doré Jeansonne, was co-founded with Jason Dore, a longtime GOP operative who is currently the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.)

West’s campaign did have a bipartisan flourish in Tennessee, however: his slate of electors there included not only a 2016 delegate to the Republican National Convention, but two two scions of a Democratic Party political dynasty, Sir Isaac Ford and Newton Ford. They are the sons of former Congressman Harold Ford, Sr. and the brothers of former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. The Ford family has long been a power broker in Memphis Democratic politics, although their influence has [THANKK GOD] waned in recent years.

Aside from his ballot woes, West also missed Thursday’s midnight deadline for him to file a report with the Federal Election Commission. The rapper was required to do so if he was intending to spend at least $100,000 in the course of his campaign. Considering West has mounted paid signature gathering efforts in over a dozen states, held a campaign rally in South Carolina, and paid multiple state filing fees, including $35,000 in Oklahoma alone, it’s almost certain he has exceeded that.

So far, Kanye West is officially on the ballot in four states: Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Vermont-- and almost certain to appear in several others including Louisiana and Utah. Despite the ongoing hiccups, his campaign is moving forward with efforts to appear on the ballot in the swing state of Arizona as well as the deep red states of Idaho, Kentucky, and Wyoming.

Although there has been strong speculation that West is a plant being used by Republicans in an attempt to steal Black voters away from Joe Biden this fall, the rapper’s motivation is certainly more complicated than that. Meanwhile, public polling data shows West being unpopular among all demographics; but particularly among those with an unfavorable opinion of Trump. And West’s candidacy may not benefit the president at all: a private poll fielded by West’s campaign early in the process, which was described as being commissioned by those close to West who did not want him to run, saw the rapper getting around 1 percent of the vote nationally and hurting Trump more than he hurt Biden.
All Kushner needs is for Kanye to get on one or two swing states--say Arizona and Ohio-- to actually deny Biden the electoral votes he needs to oust Trump.

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At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Republicans don't have a very favorable opinion of the Black community, do they?



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