Rapper and fashion mogul Kanye West is reportedly ending his 2020 presidential bid less than two weeks after breaking the internet with his announcement, so says Steve Kramer, an election specialist who was enlisted to assist West in getting on key ballots after the Jesus is King artist missed the ballot deadline in a handful of states.
“He’s out,” said Steve Kramer, who was tasked with assisting West’s team in getting his name on key ballots. The billionaire announced his bid on July 4, following years of teasing a presidential run.
“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future,” West told his neary 30 million Twitter followers. “I am running for president of the United States ! #2020VISION”
We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States 🇺🇸! #2020VISION
— ye (@kanyewest) July 5, 2020
The announcement was met with speculation and intrigue. The “Closed on Sunday” crooner missed the deadline to appear on key ballots, like Florida’s and South Carolina’s, so his campaign enlisted election strategist Steve Kramer to assist in the efforts. Kramer told New York Magazine’s Intelligencer that 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.”
Kramer said they garnered “overwhelming support to get him on the ballot” and secured “a lot of people who they’ve got both on their volunteer side and their contracted side.”
However, the effort was, according to Kramer, is already over.
Per the Intelligencer:
This all seemed real enough, and I reached out to West’s publicist for a response. The initial response was to loop in another spokesperson on the email. West’s team then went dark. As I waited for a response, I followed up with Kramer who told me, “He’s out.”
I asked what happened. “I’ll let you know what I know once I get all our stuff canceled. We had over 180 people out there today,” Kramer said.
Kramer noted that the staff he had hired were disappointed not just because they would be out of a job, but because they were excited about what a Kanye West campaign represented.
“Everyone has their personal decision about why they make decisions,” Kramer told the magazine, noting the difficulty in running for president, particularly for a political novice.
“Running for president has to be one of the hardest things for someone to actually contemplate at that level,” he said, adding that “any candidate running for president for the first time goes through these hiccups.”
The Grammy-winning artist participated in a broad interview with Forbes magazine during his short-lived bid and indicated he planned to run as an independent. “I would run as a Republican if Trump wasn’t there. I will run as an independent if Trump is there,” he said, calling Trump “the closest president we’ve had in years to allowing God to still be part of the conversation.”
West also slammed Joe Biden (D), deeming him “not special” and taking specific aim at the Democrat Party.
“That is a form of racism and white supremacy and white control to say that all Black people need to be Democrat and to assume that me running is me splitting the vote,” he told Forbes.
“The reason why this is the first day I registered to vote is because I was scared. I was told that if I voted on Trump my music career would be over. I was threatened into being in one party. I was threatened as a celebrity into being in one party. I was threatened as a Black man into the Democratic party,” West continued. “And that’s what the Democrats are doing, emotionally, to my people. Threatening them to the point where this white man can tell a Black man if you don’t vote for me, you’re not Black.”
A Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey released this week showed West garnering two percent support nationally.
Biden 48% (+8)
Jorgensen (L) 1%
Hawkins (G) 1%
— Political Polls (@PpollingNumbers) July 13, 2020
West has yet to confirm his departure from the race on Twitter. It remains unclear if West will, instead, set his sights on 2024.