Kanye West

Kanye West Unveils His Presidential Platform

Is the Kanye 2020 platform designed to steal votes from Joe Biden?

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Kanye West's presidential campaign, which has so far seen only one actual campaign event, continues to crawl forward, with the help of professionals generally associated with the Republican Party. Efforts to get West on the ballot in some states, including Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Illinois, are already being challenged as fraudulent.

West seemed to endorse the idea that he's in it to hurt the Democrats to the only reporter that he seems inclined to talk to, Randall Lane of Forbes. "I'm not denying it; I just told you," West texted back when Lane pressed him on the idea that West's campaign was going to serve as a spoiler against Biden. West currently polls nationally at around 2 percent.

Kanye 2020 has now released something like a platform of policies and stances, each and every one of which is buttressed by a quote from the Bible.

If West really is hoping to win and if Republicans are indeed deliberately helping him based on the belief that West will siphon more votes away from Democratic candidate Joe Biden than from Republican President Donald Trump, does that platform seem intelligently crafted for the purpose of taking votes away from Biden?

The platform's main concerns are restoring prayer in school; reducing (through means unspecified) household and student debt; rearranging public education to provide "the widest possible range of educational and vocational paths to job opportunities and career success"; avoiding "foreign quagmires that do not advance our national interest, and which last for decades"; reforming criminal justice and policing to avoid undue harm to the poor and minorities; ending federal sentencing guidelines that result in "ridiculous sentences for the most minor offenses"; supporting clean air and water and renewable energy; calling for "fair trade, not one-sided deals that hurt American workers"; and "support[ing] faith-based groups to provide vital local services."

The platform says nothing about immigration, a hot-button issue that divides a typical would-be Trump voter from a typical would-be Biden voter.

Some of West's policy ideas are things many Democratic voters undoubtedly want from Biden. But will the platform actually help West undermine the Biden campaign? The impact on West himself or any potential West voter of Biden picking Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) as his running mate remains to be seen.

Those looking for a more religious candidate might already be OK with Biden, even if he's not calling for prayer in school or buttressing his positions with Bible quotes. For example, 70 percent of Democrats in a February Pew Research poll said they saw Biden as somewhat or very religious.

On the other hand, a certainty of belief in God, something one would think would lead one to lean Kanye, is far more prominent among Republicans than Democrats, 73 to 55 percent. Indeed, religious belief is "very important" to 61 percent of Republicans, while just 47 percent of Democrats said the same. Meanwhile, only 29 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaning Americans go to religious services weekly.

It may be that black Democrats are less strongly devoted to the Democratic Party's progressive-leaning rising wing and perhaps more open to voting West. For example, in 2019 about 65 percent of black Democrats in a Pew Research poll described themselves as conservative or moderate. In that same poll, "black Democrats also are more likely than other Democrats to say morality is linked to a belief in God. A 55% majority of black Democrats say 'it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral.'"

The same Pew poll points to another area where the beliefs of black Democrats might make them inclined to like West's platform: "Black Democrats are more likely than other Democrats to say racism is a very big problem for the country: 79% of black Democrats say this, compared with 70% of Hispanic Democrats and 52% of white Democrats. Black Democrats also see job opportunities for all Americans as a bigger problem for the country than white or Hispanic Democrats."

And unlike West, who has been an enthusiastic Trump fan in the past, a whopping 96 percent of black Democrats disapprove of Trump as president, with 79 percent doing so "strongly."

According to one academic paper, voting patterns indicate that partisan identification was more important to more black voters than strict agreement on moral or policy issues. That could be bad news for Kanye 2020.

However, a 2019 poll from Third Way and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which tried to figure out which issues were most important to black voters, indicates that West's platform might have some real appeal. Of course, that assumes that West actually does anything to make people aware of his positions, such as actively campaigning or talking to the media.

According to that same 2019 poll, 66 percent of polled black Americans see improved water and air quality as something that would benefit them "a great deal." The same was said by 66 percent of black Americans about "creating more higher paying jobs," by 57 percent about "reforming the criminal justice system," and by 55 percent about "providing more access to credit." West's platform speaks to those issues.

There is no polling that I've found which would suggest that West's insistence on a less bellicose foreign policy is of particular appeal to black voters. In fact, West's rhetoric on the issue so closely matches that of Trump that a voter would have little reason to prefer West to Trump in this area.

And it surely has not helped West's candidacy that his own wife basically called it an expression of West's mental illness after his one campaign event so far. But as West later insisted to Forbes, though he is "walking" for president, he is "walking…to win."

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  1. He will probably get more votes than libertarians. So that’s a plus.

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  2. How can anyone countenance the theft of votes? Those are Biden’s votes, goddammit!

    1. Actual Republicans actually engaging in voter registration fraud and you still think they are pure as white coke.

      1. ??? I don’t know who or what you’re replying to, but it ain’t me, Jack. I know damn well you’re not saying that Kanye is a puppet of the nefarious GOP and Kanye’s candidacy is some sort of voter registration fraud, because how the hell is this voter registration fraud and are you seriously suggesting that you know that obviously niggers are too damn stupid to come up with this idea on their own? All I’m commenting on is the headline which suggests that these votes are somehow being “stolen” from Biden, as if Biden has a right to anybody’s vote.

        Of course, I’ll reiterate my common complaint – I don’t know who the hell it is that writes these headlines, but they obviously either don’t read the articles they’re writing the headline for or they’re heavily biased and slanting the take on the story.

        1. From the article:

          “West seemed to endorse the idea that he’s in it to hurt the Democrats to the only reporter that he seems inclined to talk to, Randall Lane of Forbes. “I’m not denying it; I just told you,” West texted back when Lane pressed him on the idea that West’s campaign was going to serve as a spoiler against Biden.”

          But yeah, the votes belong to the voters who vote, not to whom bystanders ASSUME that they belong! IE, “All black votes belong to Biden”!!! Yeah, your votes belong to my ass!!! (That’s my ass that you hear talking here!)

          1. “West seemed to endorse the idea that he’s in it to hurt the Democrats”
            Ah yes, another pile of innuendo and implication disguised as reporting to convey a narrative that because he’s running against Democrats he’s really trying to support Trump.
            That’s practically as good as an actual quote.

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          2. No, assholes – those are Biden’s votes and *that’s my job!*

      2. You talking about the guy in NC who if he had been running in Cali would not have been guilty of any crime?

    2. “Kanye 2020 has now released something like a platform of policies and stances, each and every one of which is buttressed by a quote from the Bible.”

      Dammit, WHO will (please?) explain to Kanye that God commands us to kill them ALL!?!?!

      God COMMANDS us to kill EVERYONE!

      Our that them thar VALUES of society outta come from that them thar HOLY BIBLE, and if ya read it right, it actually says that God wants us to KILL EVERYBODY!!! Follow me through now: No one is righteous, NONE (Romans 3:10). Therefore, ALL must have done at least one thing bad, since they’d be righteous, had they never done anything bad. Well, maybe they haven’t actually DONE evil, maybe they THOUGHT something bad (Matt. 5:28, thoughts can be sins). In any case, they must’ve broken SOME commandment, in thinking or acting, or else they’d be righteous. James 2:10 tells us that if we’ve broken ANY commandment, we broke them ALL. Now we can’t weasel out of this by saying that the New Testament has replaced the Old Testament, because Christ said that he’s come to fulfill the old law, not to destroy it (Matt. 5:17). So we MUST conclude that all are guilty of everything. And the Old Testament lists many capital offenses! There’s working on Sunday. There’s also making sacrifices to, or worshipping, the wrong God (Exodus 22:20, Deut. 17:2-5), or even showing contempt for the Lord’s priests or judges (Deut. 17:12). All are guilty of everything, including the capital offenses. OK, so now we’re finally there… God’s Word COMMANDS us such that we’ve got to kill EVERYBODY!!!

      (I am still looking for that special exception clause for me & my friends & family… I am sure I will find it soon!)

      1. “God COMMANDS us to kill EVERYONE!

        Citation please.

        1. Because nothing you posted says God “commands us to kill” anyone.

          Christ said that he’s come to fulfill the old law
          Kinda what the whole “Christ dying for everyone’s sins” bit was all about.

          1. “Because nothing you posted says God “commands us to kill” anyone.”

            I have laid out a 3-step reasoning process, that shows exactly what I said, for Biblical literalists, at least. But YOU are too stupid, apparently, to hold more than 1 or 2 ideas in your head at once! 3 ideas causes a stack over-flow condition in your utterly puny head, I see!

              1. Good post, thanks!

                Good related history book here: “Holy Horrors”
                https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1573927783/reasonmagazinea-20/
                Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness Paperback – May 30, 2002
                by James A. Haught

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              2. Out of curiosity, do you remember what the Bible says happened the first time Moses came down from the mount with the ten commandments?

      2. OK, so now we’re finally there… God’s Word COMMANDS us such that we’ve got to kill EVERYBODY!!!

        Actually, we’re not. See, the existence of capital punishment for some crimes does not mean it exists for all crimes. L2Sophist.

        1. This is against the Holy Word of God, heathen heretic unbelieving blasphemer!

          James 2:10 tells us that if we’ve broken ANY commandment, we broke them ALL.

          If you have jay-walked, you have also committed genocide! LITERALLY according to literalists!!! Off with your head!

          (Kamala Harris law-and-order, lock-e’m-all-up, or “capitally punish” them ALL!!!)

          1. Deuteronomy 12:1. The command to kill people who do those certain bad things only applied to ancient Jews in Palestine.
            Why did God command this? Because it was his property, and the ancient Jews were there as guests. Leviticus 25:23.
            The people agreed to these laws in various places, but most explicitly in Exodus 24:3.

            But, yes, breaking one law breaks all the others, in that the result is the same, which is death. But in that cursing your mother and father doesn’t actually kill millions, no.

            Now please stop talking about what you don’t understand. The Dunning-Kruger effect is strong in this topic.

  3. I like Kanye. I’ll probably vote for him. It doesn’t matter anyway, and anything to liven up the stultifying world we now live in.

  4. Dems insecurity about their own ticket is hilarious. They fucked up again and are worried people will vote for Kanye West instead of Biden.

  5. Seems like it is perfectly tailored for black Christians who are a powerful voting bloc. Whether that actually manifests in votes is another thing altogether.

    1. So strange that a black Christian would offer these sorts of items, isn’t it?

  6. It looks like his platform is the policies he values as solutions to problems he sees.

    But sure, Reason goes with “Uncle Tom just trying to steal black votes that rightly belong to the D candidate”

    What is libertarianism if “anti-racism” isn’t its primary value anyway?

    1. Did you read more than the headline?

      1. Did you read the part where Doherty says “[t]hose looking for a more religious candidate might already be OK with Biden…”???

        LOL

        1. Or instead of LOL, maybe I should have said “c’mon maaan.”

        2. Yeah I read that. So?

          1. So?

            More religious than who, precisely? Certainly not West.

      2. I did this time, as I was curious what his platform is.
        That’s why my comment references it…

        1. But reason never insinuates that these are black votes that belong to the D candidate. He goes over multiple facts for or against the notion that he will play a spoiler. It is possible to say that someone is a spoiler, and not say it is a BAD thing.

          The headline is a rhetorical question, and the answer from the article seems to be, “Probably not.”

          1. Its also possible to say that playing spoiler *is* a bad thing without calling West an “Uncle Tom just trying to steal black votes that rightly belong to the D candidate”.

            Its possible to say the playing spoiler is bad without insinuating that the votes *belong* to another candidate.

            1. Steal is a pejorative. It directly accuses the wrongful acquisition of something that you do not own nor are entitled to possess.

              Had the headline used other words, like for example ‘claim’ or ‘acquire’, or ‘deny’, then the editorial slant would not be quite so obvious.

      3. You know its against the rules to read past the headline before jumping into the comments.

  7. From the linked Pew poll:
    “A 55% majority of black Democrats say ‘it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral.’ By contrast, a large majority of white Democrats (89%) say a belief in God is not necessary to be moral.”

    1. and this:
      “An overwhelming majority of black Democrats (96%) say they disapprove of how Trump is handling his job as president – including 79% who say they strongly disapprove. These views are similar to ratings of Trump among white and Hispanic Democrats.”

  8. At this point, I would probably pull the lever for Kanye above everyone else. The prayer in schools stance, though, just seems contradictory in his platform.

    “Restore faith and revive our Constitutional commitment to freedom of religion and the free exercise of one’s faith, demonstrated by restoring prayer in the classroom including spiritual foundations”

    To me, restoring prayer in the classroom is the opposite of freedom of religion.

    1. “To me, restoring prayer in the classroom is the opposite of freedom of religion.”

      Depends. If prayer is banned, then allowing it is freedom of religion. There is a difference between allowing it and forcing it.

      1. That’s a fair point. I interpret this as the latter.

      2. Usually “allowing” it is code speak for “allowing school districts and principles and teachers to choose”, not “allowing individual students” to choose, which has always been legal.

        But it’s just another reason to get rid of government indoctrination centers, aka public schools. Make vouchers the only government part of schools. Trust parents to choose the schools they want.

      3. That “if” is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

    2. No problem with that if he also gets rid of government schools. The school prayer issue evaporates the instant we get rid of government schools.

      Many private schools have prayer in the classroom and no one gives a shit. But most are still secular private schools that don’t have it. The great thing about educational choice is that there’s a choice. Scares the shit out of Democrats and Republicans though, who demand that everyone make the same choices.

      1. Getting rid of government schools is not a necessity. It certainly is preferable, but it should not stand in the way of stopping government infringement on freedom of religion.

        That the freedom from religion crowd also tends to be the same people oppose vouchers or other means of eliminating or bypassing government schooling being not remotely coincidental.

  9. “70 percent of Democrats in a February Pew Research poll said they saw Biden as somewhat or very religious.”

    Because what could be more religious then child sacrifice on the altar of convenience?

    1. God must smile upon him or he would’ve wandered into traffic by now.

  10. Good to see Kanye West getting more Reason coverage than Jo Jorgensen.

    1. When JoJo starts stealing away votes that rightly belong to Biden based on skin color, Reason will take notice.

    2. Libertarianism is a philosophy, not an American political party.

      1. Not sure if sarcasm.

  11. In a world where Trump plays five dimensional chess, then of course Kanye was a convinced to run to swing to vote over to Trump. But we don’t live in that world, we live in the real one. Kanye is running because Kanye choose to run.

    I reject the whole silly idea that candidates “steal” votes, or somehow “take” or “draw away” votes from other more deserving candidates. Bullshit. No one deserves my vote, it’s mine to give to whom I want, to to keep it and stay home if I choose. If Kanye gets 5% of the vote then it’s because he earned those votes through his platform, personality, campaigning, or just plain chance. He he will NOT have taken them from Biden.

    The question to ask is the opposite. Instead of asking who he will steal votes from, ask which voters are going to gravitate towards him enough to cast a vote. Is that going to be what we expect would other wise be Biden voters? It’s really hard to know. I suspect some Blacks will just because he’s Black and the Democrats have given a giant fuck you to the Blacks by putting Kamala on the ticket. But Kanye is also culturally on the right, very pro-life, and all that, so a lot of the Religious Right might just realize that Trump is indeed the immoral philanderer he portrays on television and swing towards Kanye.

    1. >>the Blacks

      you seem to have the answer to who is and who is not.

      1. No I do not. It’s become a generic term to refer to a certain demographic that Democrats traditionally take for granted. So I use it as a generic term for that demographic.

        1. >>a generic term to refer to a certain demographic

          demographics have definable parameters.

          >>I use it as a generic term for that demographic

          maybe reconsider.

    2. I reject the whole silly idea that candidates “steal” votes, or somehow “take” or “draw away” votes from other more deserving candidates.

      I don’t reject the notion that they can very effectively siphon off votes from undeserving candidates.

      1. It’s not siphoning because that gas (votes) are not in the tank (owned by the candidate).

        Votes are not owned by the candidates. It’s absolutely the wrong way to think about it. And it’s why Hillary lost despite having all the demographics on her side, because she assumed votes belonged to her and didn’t need to convince anyone to make a choice in her favor.

  12. love it. touch the sky, babygirl.

  13. If Kanye picks Tulsi Gabbard as his veep, I’ll vote for him.

    1. I might vote for him anyway, if Jo can’t manage to drum up some excitement.

  14. A consistent theme, which I seem to recall Kanye pushing himself, is that the DNC has been taking the AA vote for granted and doing little to actually further the interests of the AA communities. Not to say that the RNC is necessarily much better, but the voting rate difference between the two is unjustified and discourages the dems from doing much more then going through the motions.
    It’s well past time to churn up those questions and force some discussions about political outcomes.
    I have no doubt that kind of conversation is already happening with the Dems as it was probably the basis of Biden’s gaffe about lack of diversity in the AA community.

    1. “Not to say that the RNC is necessarily much better….”

      No, but they don’t pander as much. Don’t be surprised if that’s starting to wear a little thin. At some point I would think it gets insulting.

      1. “Not to say that the RNC is necessarily much better….”

        I will say it. It aint red cities with major civil unrest and routine black-on-black violence. And they happen to have POC in their cities.

    2. I never realized Alcoholics Anonymous was a voting bloc! That explains some things.

  15. It would be hilarious for Kanye to replace Pence on the Republican ticket.
    The VP debate would be the best entertainment all year long.

  16. There is one, overpoweringly important factor in any “is West’s candidacy designed to siphon off votes from Biden” analysis.

    Ballot access.

    Is he going to be on any ballots?

    What about ballots that matter?

    He’s going to be in Wisconsin, maybe? Let’s check Wikipedia

    On the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Vermont

    Ballot access pending verification (four states): 43 electoral votes – Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

    All are being contested by Democrats – if that tells you anything about what they believe his effect will be.

    Ohio and Wisconsin are interesting.

    But there’s no black people in Wisconsin. Could grabbing 5% of the black vote in Wisconsin really swing the state?

    Ohio is another matter. 12% African American, like the larger US. Also a swing state that failed for Clinton last time around. I don’t know how close it is, but if he put everything in just a couple of swing states, maybe he could have an effect?

    People still have to believe. He already missed the deadline in 23 states. He cannot win. He cannot even “lose well”. So I’m not sure how much effect even a huge marketing campaign could have in a couple of swing states. Everyone will know that he can only even compete in a handful of states.

    1. Oh, as an aside…

      You know how ever single year since the late 60’s the DNC has surrogates out yelling about how Racist Republicans are trying to suppress the black vote and disenfranchise voters?

      Well, among the various challenges to West’s position on the ballot is this one: In Wisconsin the DNC is challenging his petition as being too late – by 14 seconds.

      This from the party that wants ballots sent to all residents – not just registered voters. (their California plan)

    2. Doesn’t matter. People don’t have to see Kanye’s name on the ballot for them to not vote for one of the other candidates. Even if their write-in vote gets thrown in the dumpster for lack of a ticket of electors, it’s a vote that didn’t go to one of the “legitimate” candidates in that state.

  17. It is more than a bit ironic that a “libertarian” magazine would be upset by someone running as a third party for the purpose of promoting a set of policies and beliefs rather than running to win.

    If what West is doing is wrong, then the LP needs to close up shop and stop running as well.

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    2. Interesting point.

      1. Also, I’ve been too depressed to do a deep dive, but I am a little concerned that the LP candidate this time around might be drifting farther away from the LP platform than the current office holder… which should not be possible.

    3. Who said it was wrong? We’re just trying to gauge which of the two parties it’s going to help more in November. West’s platform is socially conservative and economically liberal, which is what blacks by and large are. Actually, it’s what much of the working class is into.

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  19. I wonder if Kanye will get more votes than Pat Paulson did when he ran. That was over 50 years ago and I can not even find a vote count for Pat. None the less I remember he ran as I suspect my children will remember when Kanye ran.

  20. Platforms don’t matter. The idea is that he’s black, so he’ll get some of the black vote, and that’s he’s somewhat popular, so he’ll get some of the youth and celeb obsessed vote.

  21. Total wild card as to whose votes he would get, but to the extent that he takes votes away from either candidate he takes far more away from Biden. When I suggest where his votes come from is a wild card I’m thinking of registered voters who won’t otherwise vote. Their lack of interest in voting suggests that neither candidate either interests them or disgusts them enough to move them to vote. A strange oddball candidacy like West’s might catch their interest.

  22. President Wests wife, Miss BumBum, would make a great First Lay.

  23. “And it surely has not helped West’s candidacy that his own wife basically called it an expression of West’s mental illness”

    You’ve tried the rest, now try the West.

    A crazy man for crazy times.

    You’re not suggesting those *other* guys are sane, are you?

    1. Should I fit in a joke about “I am only mad North by North West”?

      1. *I’m* crazy? *You’re* the one with the National Debt.

        1. “He’s crazy.;.for America!”

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