A longshot third-party White House bid might indirectly spell bad news for the campaign of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
According to reports this week, rapper Kanye West has completed the paperwork necessary to have his name added to the ballots in New Jersey along with a number of other states.
“Unifying our vision”
While early speculation was divided regarding whether Biden or President Donald Trump stood to lose the most voters to such a campaign, pundits now seem convinced that the former vice president would take the brunt of the political damage.
West announced his campaign in a tweet earlier this month.
“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future,” he wrote on Independence Day. “I am running for president of the United States.”
Though subsequent campaign stops have been met with criticism over his controversial behavior, West’s campaign team has been working to secure the votes needed in various states to include his name among the presidential contenders on Election Day.
In New Jersey, the deadline for independent candidates was Monday. State records show West had secured 1,327 signatures — well above the 800 needed.
“The tides turned”
Similarly, the campaign submitted paperwork to be added to the Missouri ballot. Officials in that state, however, still need to verify the validity of the 10,000 signatures submitted before it becomes official.
In New York, the deadline is Thursday and it will take 30,000 signatures for him to appear alongside Trump and Biden in that state.
Amid polling that continues to show Biden with a comfortable lead over Trump, columnist Sumitra Nair wrote in The Week that West could be a spoiler in the race.
“Biden, initially during the polls lost out as African-Americans did not favour him much,” she wrote. “But, the tides turned as soon as Obama endorsed Biden’s candidacy and the racial unrest in the recent months has helped Biden’s cause too. But with West in the picture, these votes could again be divided.”
Biden appeared to have the Black vote shored up prior to recent developments involving West’s surprise campaign. Only time will tell if it will truly derail the former vice president’s chances to make Trump a one-term president.