The Republican party’s interest in Kanye West has been confirmed as more than idle intrigue.
What We Know:
- Typically political candidates have partisan legal operatives that are made available to them in their campaign endeavors; that is not exactly the case for Kanye’s “Birthday Party” under which he is “walking” for president. GOP affiliated lawyers & strategists have been helping Kanye file paperwork in key states such as Wisconsin, a critical swing state.
- According to the Los Angeles Times, Kanye’s qualifying paperwork for Wisconsin was dropped off by Lane Ruhland, an attorney representing the Trump campaign in a lawsuit. Ruhland has also done legal work for the Republican National Committee, former Republican Governor Scott Walker, and the state Republican Party on election matters.
- In Ohio, another key swing state, the paperwork was dropped off by an attorney from Isaac Wiles, a Columbus law firm that has reportedly received tens of thousands of dollars in fees from state Republican campaign committees since 2015.
- Mark Jacoby, an executive at Let the Voters Decide, has been collecting signatures for Kanye’s campaign in three states, according to a New York Times report. Having been arrested for voter fraud in 2008 while working for the California Republican Party and pleading guilty, he insisted that his group is nonpartisan and supports the rights of “anyone who is qualified to stand for election”.
- Gregg Keller, who is listed as a contact for Kanye’s campaign in Arkansas, is the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, and, according to the New York Times, was under consideration to be Trump’s campaign manager in 2015.
- Chuck Wilton, who is listed as a Vermont convention delegate for Trump, is an elector with Kanye’s campaign who could potentially cast an Electoral College vote for him.
- According to Vice News, in Colorado, GOP state operative, Rachel George, emailed another state operative asking, “Would you help me get Kanye West on the ballot in Colorado? No, I am not joking, and I realize this is hilarious.” Neither operative has commented on the incident.
- This apparent aid from the GOP is coming in the midst of, according to Kim Kardashian West, a bipolar episode Kanye is facing. This has increased the claims of alleged manipulation of Kanye by the Republican Party. In an interview with Forbes, Kanye did not deny the claims that he is only running to bleed votes from Biden. “I’m not denying it, I just told you. To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.”
- In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist unaffiliated with the Biden campaign, stated, “One of the oldest tricks in the political playbook is to run a third-party candidate to try and bleed support from your opponent. What’s different here is the third-party candidate is a hip-hop artist who has said nice things about the current president before.” He went on to say, “I don’t believe African Americans are going to vote for Kanye simply because he’s on the ballot. There’s simply too much at stake.”
- A poll performed by Redfield and Wilton Strategies in July found that, out of 2,000 registered voters, there was only 2% support for Kanye’s candidacy; most respondents said they did not think Kanye’s campaign was serious.
- According to University of Tulsa’s associate professor of political science, Matt Hindman, who is known for his research on third-party candidates and ballot-access laws, the notably small percentage of people who might vote for Kanye are not truly guaranteed to otherwise vote for Biden.
- Nathan Gonzales, the editor and publisher of Inside Elections, a nonpartisan guide to elections, believes that, because it is a tight race, Kanye could tip the scale from one candidate to another. He went on to clarify, “We’re still a long way from knowing whether Kanye will have any impact,” noting that the answer lies in which state ballots Kanye will actually qualify for.
- Kanye has already missed too many state filing deadlines to actually be a mathematically plausible contender. It has not yet been confirmed that his Wisconsin petition was submitted in time. He missed the mark on signatures needed to qualify for Illinois and California and missed the deadlines for Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada – states in which a third-party candidate is more likely to tilt the scale.
- Gonzales went on to state, “For people to say, ‘Oh, Kanye is Black so he’ll take Black voters from Biden’ is a gross oversimplification of a more complex situation.”
- This understanding did not seem to stop President Trump making this tweet in July:
That shouldn’t be hard. Corrupt Joe has done nothing good for Black people! https://t.co/R4r0svuT4u
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2020
- Trump has denied all implications of involvement in Kanye’s campaign or candidacy, stating in a White House press conference, “Other than I get along with him very well…I have nothing to do with him getting on the ballot. We’ll have to see what happens. We’ll see if he gets on the ballot but I’m not involved.”
- Kanye has shown apparent support for Trump since the beginning of his term, often sporting a Make America Great Again hat and meeting the president in the Oval Office and at Trump’s hotels. It is believed that Kanye’s attempt to draw the Black vote away from Biden is based in alleged efforts to get Trump reelected.
Neither Kanye or any of his representatives have made a comment regarding the GOP’s involvement in his campaign or his hopes for the November election.
Georgia Sets New Early Voting Record for Senate Runoffs
Early voting for the two Georgia Senate races began on December 14th. So far, the turnout has been unbelievable and record-breaking.
What We Know:
- As of Dec. 18th, over 1.1 million ballots have been cast in early voting for this Senate runoff election. These twin U.S. Senate runoff elections, as Reuters calls it, will determine which party controls that chamber of Congress. Voting in the Senate runoffs, which are taking place because no candidate won 50% support on Nov. 3rd. State data published on Friday showed the number of accepted ballots was just below the level seen at the same point in early voting for November’s election.
- According to MSN, roughly 168,000 Georgians went to the polls on Monday, the first day to vote early in-person in the state’s two critical Senate runoff elections, according to numbers provided by the Georgia secretary of state’s office. By comparison, some 128,000 voted on the first day of early voting for the November general election. Another 314,000 people cast absentee ballots on the first day of the early-voting period. The first-day early in-person turnout broke a record previously set in October when early in-person voting began for the 2020 general election.
- The runoff’s Democratic challengers are Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff against Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively. Perdue won more votes than Ossoff in November, while Warnock won more than Loeffler in a 20-candidate field that also included Republican Congressman Doug Collins. Loeffler and Collins together drew nearly 46% of the vote, according to Reuters.
- The party control of the Senate is at stake in this runoff election. Republicans currently hold a 50-48 seat edge in the upper chamber. If Democrats win in the Georgia runoffs, this will hand them an evenly divided chamber, in which Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote. If both Democrats lose, President-elect Joe Biden will be forced to work with a divided Congress and may not be able to implement his agenda.
Early voting will take place up until December 31st, and election day will be held on January 5th. Georgians still have a few more days to get out and cast their in-person votes. In addition, absentee ballots may still be mailed in before December 31st. To view your sample ballot, find your polling place, or verify that you’re properly registered to vote, log in to the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.
WSJ Columnist Writes Misogynistic Op-Ed About Dr. Jill Biden
The Wall Street Journal was widely criticized over the weekend for publishing a column by Joseph Epstein where he wrote “misogynistic views,” suggesting soon-to-be first lady Jill Biden should stop using her doctorate title.
What We Know:
- Epstein begins the article by writing, “Madame First Lady–Mrs. Biden–Jill–kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name? ‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
- Jill Biden has spent most of her life educating and holds multiple degrees, including a doctoral degree from the University of Delaware. Her “Dr.” title is noted in all of her public profiles and usually what she is referred to in the media. In the article, Epstein regarded this as “fraudulent, even comic.”
- In attempts to discredit and undermine the numerous achievements Dr. Biden has received, Epstein writes to the WSJ to argue that the prestige of post-graduate titles has been diminished by lack of academic rigor.
“Such degrees were once given exclusively to scholars, statesmen, artists, and scientists. Then rich men entered the lists, usually hoping that they would donate money to the schools that had granted them their honorary degrees … Famous television journalists, who passed themselves off as intelligent, followed. Entertainers, who didn’t bother feigning intelligence, were next,” he wrote.
- In response to the column, Jill Biden tweeted, “Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.” Her response is among several across social media from icons such as Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Meghan McCain, the daughter of late Republican senator John McCain and a commentator on the morning talk show “The View.”
- Paul A. Gigot, the top editor for The Journal’s opinion section for nearly two decades, deemed the media’s response to the column as a political strategy, stating, “There’s nothing like playing the race or gender card to stifle criticism,” as he accused Democrats of coordinated the mass of responses following the publication.
- This is not the first wave of criticism received by the WSJ over their op-eds. According to The Washington Post, members of The Journal’s newsroom have sent letters criticizing Journal columns at least three times this year.
In just one month, nearly 300 employees sent a letter to The Journal’s publisher, Almar Latour, identifying a “lack of fact-checking and transparency” on the opinion desk.
Black Lives Matter Signs Burned at D.C. Churches; Police Investigate as Possible Hate Crimes
An investigation has begun into the burning of Black lives Matter signs at historic Black churches in Washington, D.C., during a pro-Trump rally this weekend.
What We Know:
- The incident will be investigated as a hate crime, and the police are looking for information on the events that occurred on Saturday. The burning of signs occurred at Asbury United Methodist Church, founded in 1836, and Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Frederick Douglass’ funeral was held in 1895.
- The protest is in reaction to the Supreme court tossing a Texas lawsuit and pushing for the changing election results n five swing states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Nevada.
- Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted on Sunday, “This weekend, we saw forces of hate seeking to use destruction and intimidation to tear us apart… We will not let that happen, and continue to stand together strong and United to Love.”
- According to NBC News, Asbury’s senior pastor, the Reverend Lanther Mills, stated the pro-Trump supporters removed a Black Lives Matter and literally burned it in the street. Mills compares the incident to that of the burning of crosses during the days of Jim Crow.
“We are as people of faith. As horrible and disturbing as this is for us now, it doesn’t compare with the challenges and fears the men and women who started Ashbury faced 184 years ago faced,” stated Mills.
- “So we will move forward, undaunted in our assurance that Black Lives Matter, and we are obligated to continue to shout that truth. We are assured that our church is surrounded by God’s grace and mercy,” he added.
During the protest in Olympia, Washington, 4 people were stabbed, and one person was shot in the clash between Trump supporters and counterprotesters.
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