The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: kanye west

GOP Operatives Push Green Party, Kanye West Ballot Lines

Third-party candidates played a major role in Donald Trump's election in 2016, siphoning off voters from Hillary Clinton and helping Trump eke out wins by the narrowest of margins in enough swing states to hand him a victory — even as he lost the popular vote by three million ballots.

Four years later, with Trump down in the polls and facing the possibility of defeat, Republican operatives are making a last-ditch effort to try to recreate that same third-party effect, and are playing a behind-the-scenes role in numerous states to get Kanye West and Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins onto state ballots.

Read Now Show less

Wisconsin Officials Toss Kanye West Off 2020 Ballot

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has tossed rapper Kanye West from the state's presidential ballot, saying in a 5-1 decision on Thursday that he missed the deadline by one minute and thus was disqualified, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

West's bid appeared to be an effort by Republicans to try to siphon voters from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — who is looking to win back the state after Trump carried it in 2016 by just over 20,000 votes.

Read Now Show less

GOP Operatives Push To Place Kanye West On Presidential Ballots

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In 2018 and 2019, Kanye West was President Donald Trump's most prominent supporter in the hip-hop community, sometimes inspiring criticism from other rappers who considered the president overtly racist. But on July 4, West tweeted that he planned to run for president — running against Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in the general election. And according to reporting from the New York Times and CNN, some Republican operatives have been trying to help West get on the presidential ballot in various states.

One of the GOP operatives cited by reporters Maggie Haberman and Danny Hakim in the Times is Mark Jacoby, who they describe as "an executive at a company called Let the Voters Decide." Jacoby, they note, "has been collecting signatures for the West campaign" in Ohio, West Virginia and Arkansas.

Read Now Show less

SNL Cold Open: Trump’s Newest Adviser Is ‘Stable Genius’ Kanye

Even clever SNL writers must have puzzled over how to satirize Kanye West’s bizarre Oval Office visit — with football great Jim Brown in tow — where he ranted breathlessly about his #MAGA cap, the 13th Amendment, and various conspiracy theories. And then they realized that the funniest way to comment on Kanye’s self-parody would be to imagine what went on in the minds of Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) and Brown (Kenan Thompson) as they watched West (Chris Redd) melt down.

As Kanye declares that the MAGA hat gave him powers like Superman, Brown muses “Superman didn’t wear a hat, you idiot.” And Trump notices instantly that Kanye “doesn’t listen to anyone but himself. Who does he remind me of?” But when Kanye declares himself a “stable genius” who uses “the best words,” the president realizes, “He’s black me!”

Trump’s ruinous presidency is still SNL gold.

Danziger: Slave Mentality

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.

#Endorse This: Fallon Sidekick Roasts Kanye West For Trump Love

Late-night comic Jimmy Fallon has taken heat for not being hard enough on President Trump. To wit, Fallon is the lone network talk host to have welcomed the Orange One to his show, and he even touched that horrible hair!

Yet it is Fallon who – in his understated way – is throwing some of the stiffest jabs in Trump’s direction after 45’s epic meltdown on Fox & Friends. In today’s clip, the emcee of The Tonight Show sends-up the incident using little more than actual footage from the ranting, raving Trump interview.

Yamaneika Saunders then takes the stage with a few words for Kanye West. Her description of a Trump-West dinner-for-two is so spot-on, you’ll swear she can see into the future. But stay tuned for the payoff line at 4:00 as Saunders correctly identifies one drug we know is in the President’s medicine cabinet.

Click to see the dragon-slaying.

Are Democrats Out Of Touch With The Real America Or Reality TV America?

Following the 2016 election, some readers have accused me of being out of touch with the Real America—that mythic locale inhabited by people who vote like them and watch the same TV shows they do.

“Duck Dynasty,” for example, a program I watched on an assignment that bears about as close a resemblance to the rural South as “Gomer Pyle” did to the U.S. Marines. Real Americans supposedly love that show, a cornball sitcom about a family of heavily-bearded children who get into harmless scrapes involving guns and explosives.

No thanks. My own children are grown.

So in an effort to measure my Real America quotient, I recently took a year-end celebrity quiz in the morning newspaper. You know, which celebrities got married, divorced, won awards, had children, got cancelled, excommunicated or pistol-whipped during 2016?

Just kidding. To my knowledge, no red carpet habitués actually got shunned by the Pope or beaten senseless, although somebody called Kim Kardashian apparently did get robbed of her jewels at gunpoint. I believe she’s one of several sisters famous for having, well, massive personal assets that she displays as widely as possible. Or that may be one of her sisters. I can’t be sure.

Anyway, one of four fellow notables supposedly said “I literally am thinking about her every day like she’s my friend, even though I don’t know her.” I was confident it wasn’t Melania Trump, and I doubted Helen Mirren could possibly say anything so cosmically dumb, but no, the correct answer wasn’t Lindsay Lohan. The culprit was Lena Dunham, who I’ve kind of heard of, although Girls, her HBO program, is like a Narcotics Anonymous meeting without the laughs.

That was as close as I got to a correct answer. My score on the quiz was a big fat zero. My Real America score is zip, zero, nada. Nothing.

Many celebrities I’d never heard of at all. Others, well, I recognized their names, but knew only that I had no ambition to know more.

Kanye West. Enough said.

And why did Justin Bieber quit Instagram? Who knew? Who cares?

Which of four “celebs was not at Taylor Swift’s Fourth of July beach bash?”

Never heard of any of them, sad to say. I guessed “Gigi Hadid,” because that sounded like an exotic babe with Kardashian-esque personal assets, who’d attract too much attention in a bathing suit.

Wrong again. Gigi attended, ginormous American breasts and all. (I googled her).

“How did Ryan Seacrest sign off on the finale of ‘American Idol?’”

No clue. Never watched it. Couldn’t pick him out of a police lineup.

Anyway, I’ve evidently disappeared completely over the celebrity event horizon. I fear there’s no coming back. Indeed, I cherish the memory of a long-ago faculty party where a woman indignantly accused me of being “the kind of man who watches Charlie’s Angels.”

“Never seen it,” I said.

I must have offended by indicating an appreciation of female beauty. Never mind that Homer’s Iliad, the oldest narrative in the Western tradition, centers upon the intoxicating allure of Helen of Troy—“the face that launched a thousand ships,” as Christopher Marlowe put it. To a certain kind of professor, it’s nevertheless a forbidden theme.

She expressed incredulity.

My wife rescued me. “I don’t believe he ever has seen it,” she said.

It’s of such moments that enduring love is made.

Not that I’m above popular culture. If challenged, I’m sure I could have named the entire Chicago Cubs roster. The Rolling Stones hadn’t made an album I didn’t own. We rarely missed an episode of Mary Tyler Moore. My sons called All in the Family “the man like grandpa show,” based upon Carroll O’Connor’s uncanny impersonation of my New Jersey father.

But Charlie’s Angels was too vapid by half. To put it another way, Mary Tyler Moore, yes. Helen Mirren, definitely. Kim Kardashian? An airhead famous for being shameless. There’s an awful lot of that going around these days.

Still, as a Facebook friend recently reminded me, even the most vapid of celebrities have their role. “Nothing new under the sun,” she wrote. “These stories of celebs function as an overlay on reality, like Norse or Greek mythology. All the posturing, quarreling demiurges and hamadryads are channeling our primal need for storytelling and making sense of the woeful world.”

I’m sure that’s right. Living as I do in Arkansas, I have always felt that Bill and Hillary Clinton—life sized figures in Little Rock—were transmogrified by fame in the popular imagination, like figures in classical myth hurled into the stars by some petulant god. It’s been a fascinating process to observe.

As for Real America, maybe if I’d seen a single episode of The Apprentice or Celebrity Apprentice. I might have seen the preposterous figure of Donald J. Trump coming.

But I surely did not.

Did you?

IMAGE: President-elect Donald Trump and Kanye West pose for media at Trump Tower in Manhattan. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

15 Things Trump Apparently Does—And Does Not—Have Time For

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

There are a finite number of hours in every day, making time the most precious commodity of all. That’s especially true for someone stepping into the role of leading a world superpower. Donald Trump, the guy who won the election, has 1,000 projects he cares deeply about— and 1,001 projects if you also count the presidency. Trump has to find ways to divvy up his time, prioritizing some things and letting others fall by the wayside. There are frivolous issues and issues of national importance, and Trump must choose which ones get his attention. If there’s anything we’ve learned since the election, it’s that he will absolutely, positively, always choose wrong.

Here’s a quick post-election look at the things Trump does have time to do, versus the things he apparently does not.

1. Does have time to: Meet with business partners.

Trump, who is as busy as all our children will be once his administration scraps the child labor laws, is juggling a lot. Last month, he barely had time to meet with his business partners on this sweet Indian luxury apartment deal they’re putting together. Somehow he made it to that meeting, “which included discussions… about possible additional real estate deals,” according to one of Trump’s business partners.

2. Does not have time to: Explain how he will divest from his many conflicts of interest.

Trump has hundreds of foreign and domestic business interests that almost definitely present dangerous and unprecedented conflicts with America’s interests. He’s had 18 months to explain how he plans to extricate himself from his various business holdings, but he is a very important person—the importantest—and he just hasn’t been able to find the time. Finally, he tweeted last month that he would be “holding a major news conference… December 15” aimed at clearing that whole thing up.

3. Does have time to: Meet with Kanye—instead of clearing that whole thing up.

Three days before the press conference, Trump apparently realized he was too busy to explain how he plans to divest from his holdings, probably because he has absolutely no plan to do any such thing. Instead, he cancelled the media briefing, and had his press person issue a vague statement about moving it to sometime in January. On Tuesday, he did manage to locate the time to met with Kanye West, bringing the world’s two most gigantic fragile egos together for a publicity stunt that surprised everyone for a nanosecond before making total sense. The Trump inauguration outfit has reportedly been trying to barter ambassadorships in exchange for inauguration performances from very famous musicians, and Kanye fits the bill. Kanye later tweeted that he and Trump met to discuss “multicultural” issues, which means they stared into each others’ eyes and mouthed the word “diversity” to one another for an hour.

4. Does not have time to: Tweet at his racist supporters to stop committing hate crimes.

A Trump victory wasn’t just a win for the KKK, David Duke, new-skool white nationalists, and other racists, all of whom were vocal supporters of his campaign. They represented a small minority of Trump voters. No, it was also a triumph for wholly unaffiliated racists, who made up the entirety of the rest of Trump’s white voters. All their hateful post-election exuberance has come at the cost of marginalized peoples’ safety, with nearly 900 hate crimes committed against Muslims, people of color, LGBT folks, immigrants and other vulnerable populations in just the 10 days following the election (and plenty more since then). Asked directly about the crimes during an interview with 60 Minutes, Trump offered a tepid, “Stop it.” Apparently, outside of that moment, he has not found a single minute to tweet a more emphatic condemnation.

5. Does have time to: Tweet complaints about Broadway plays, the media, retweet teenagers, block people who criticize him.

But he’s been able to find hours upon hours to send more than 100 other tweets, though! Since the election, Trump has used Twitter to harass stage actors, whine about bad restaurant reviews, retweet high schoolers, disrupt longstanding bipartisan foreign policy, voice opposition to constitutional rights, spread conspiracy disinformation, whine about how the media drives him to write his stupid tweets, and tell lie after lie, just like every time he opens his mouth IRL. He also he blocks everyday citizens who hurt his feelings because he is the world’s most uncomplicated narcissist.

6. Does not have time to: Release his taxes.

Trump said he was going to release his income taxes back in 2014, when he went on an Irish television show and declared, “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely, and I would love to do that.” It’s so sad how secretly having a lot less money than you say you do, or being knee-deep in debt to the Russians, or not paying federal taxes for the last two decades has kept Trump from doing a thing he “would love to do” for all these years.

7. Does have time to: Watch every episode of Saturday Night Live.

Trump’s life is so hectic, it almost—almost—doesn’t leave him time to sit down every single Saturday night at 11:30pm sharp so he can catch SNL’s political cold open, featuring Alec Baldwin doing an impression of PEOTUS that Trump hates yet cannot bear to miss, feelings of arousal and anger simultaneously rising within him. Trump’s calendar is just a hair’s breadth away from being too crowded for him to get on Twitter before the episode is even over to hate-tweet at the show, enraged by its mockery and yet desperate for its negative attention.

8. Does not have time to: Explain Melania’s immigration violations.

Inconsistencies in Melania Trump’s immigration story, which officially holds that she followed the law to the letter when she arrived in the U.S. in the 1990s, have been covered by various outlets for months. In response, at a rally in South Carolina in August, Trump told an audience of supporters that Melania “has got it so documented” and that, to prove it, he would hold a “little news conference.” Unfortunately, both Trump and Melania got so slammed they didn’t have time for the press conference, and only had a moment to tweet out a letter written by the lawyer they keep on permanent retainer. (Here’s hoping that attorney invoices with regularity.) A November AP investigation found Melania took several early modeling jobs “before she had legal permission.” All of this would normally upset Trump supporters, who are notoriously xenophobic, but Melania is white so never mind.

9. Does have time to: Have useless revenge meetings with people out of spite.

Mitt Romney was very critical of Donald Trump during the campaign, saying he didn’t want to get behind “trickle-down racism,” and giving a speech in which he called Trump “a phony, a fraud” and lambasted his ideas as “flimsy” and “dangerous.” Then the election happened and Romney had a change of heart, for some reason. He was even reportedly being considered for the position of Secretary of State. Or maybe not. Roger Stone, a Trump adviser and longtime right-wing henchman who tweets stuff so racist even David Duke is impressed, now says the whole thing was just a big setup. “Donald Trump was interviewing Mitt Romney for Secretary of State in order to torture him,” Stone told (ugh) InfoWars. “To toy with him… Mitt Romney crossed a line.” The only souvenir from Trump and Romney’s peacemaking dinner is a photograph that captures the exact moment Romney’s soul exited his body.

10. Does not have time to: File and fight all those lawsuits he said he would.

During the pre-election period that was really just the start of our long national nightmare, Trump claimed he “never settles” lawsuits (lie). That’s why he planned to fight a fraud lawsuit against his failed university, which he maintained would be “an easy case to win.” After the election, Trump must have found that all his fighting time had dried up, and instead of heading to court decided to settle (like he almost always does). Trump did manage to scrape together the minutes to tweet, “The ONLY bad thing about winning the Presidency is that I did not have the time to go through a long but winning trial on Trump U. Too bad!”

11. Does have time to: Attend a costume party at a big-money donor’s house.

Robert Mercer is a billionaire hedge funder who gave $2 million to a pro-Trump super PAC run by his daughter, Rebekah, who also deserves credit for installing Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway on the team. Each year, the Mercers hold a very exclusive, lavish holiday party in Long Island, which Trump attended this year. The 2016 theme was “Heroes and Villains.” Trump stopped in for a few hours, wearing a super villain costume he made himself.

12. Does not have time to: Hold press conferences.

The last time Trump held a press conference was in July, when he graciously invited Russia to cyberattack Hillary Clinton and upset the democratic process. Since then he’s just been so swamped he hasn’t held a single press conference, a thing he and his team criticized Clinton for more than 70 times, not that hypocrisy means a damn thing to this administration.

13. Does have time to: Go on a ‘victory tour’ around the country.

Just after Trump’s win, the New York Times ran a feature that included this: “[Trump’s] aides say he has also expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that were a staple of his candidacy. He likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide, and his aides are discussing how they might accommodate his demand.” Staffers may have been concerned there wasn’t really much time for those rallies, considering Trump was so unprepared for his job Obama reportedly had to explain to him—this horrible orange nightmare who launched his political career by perpetuating a racist lie to undermine Obama’s presidency—what being president entails. But like he has so many times before, Trump cobbled together the hours and minutes, and is currently in the midst of needless “thank you” tour around the country. He found the time the same way anyone might—by doing a half-assed job at something else. In this case, leading the country.

14. Does not have time to: Attend daily intelligence briefings.

You do not have to make time for things you already know about, and Trump has said he already knows more than anyone else in the world about the U.S. military, ISIS and “the horror of nuclear.” This is why Trump doesn’t need to waste time with boring intelligence briefings every day—not when there are tweets to be sent and SNL to be rage-watched. Trump told Christopher Wallace recently that he doesn’t need to hear about the national security situation every day because he’s “like, a smart person.” Instead, his motto is, “Call me if something changes.” Which is just a really fantastic attitude for a president to have. Like, the best.

15. Does have time to: Executive-produce the reality TV show ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’

You might worry that with all he already has going on, Trump’s refusal to leave his position as executive producer of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” might compromise the quality of his work on other projects, like being the president that 60 million idiots voted for. That’s a groundless worry, because Kellyanne Conway says Trump will do his “Apprentice” stuff in his “spare time.” What’s also cool about this—aside from the image it broadcasts to the world—is that NBC is now in a joint money-making venture with a president its news bureau is supposed to scrutinize. What could go wrong? Aside from everything?

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

IMAGE: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a rally as part of their “USA Thank You Tour 2016” in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 . REUTERS/William Philpott