In a surprising turn of events, Cornel West, former Harvard professor and well-known left-wing activist, has declared his intent to run for the U.S. presidency in 2024. A familiar face to those in the progressive sphere, West plans to run under the People’s Party, a fringe faction created by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) supporters in 2016. This move may cause unrest in the Democratic camp, potentially siphoning votes in a critical election year.
West is a name that resonates with the far left, and his activism and academic prowess are recognized by many. However, his candidacy is unlikely to gather widespread support. Despite this, if West succeeds in making his way onto the ballot, he could be a spoiler for the Democrats, drawing away a crucial portion of their votes.
“I have decided to run for truth and justice, which takes the form of running for President of the United States as a candidate for the People’s Party,” West stated in a video announcing his run. He added, “The presidency is just one vehicle to pursue the truth and justice I’ve been trying to do all my life.”
West’s decision raises a legitimate question: Isn’t it the Democrats who consistently present themselves as the defenders of democracy? Now, with one of their own stepping away, one wonders where the party stands.
In his announcement, West also took a jab at President Biden and the Democratic Party, indicating his discontent. His approach suggests a broader dissatisfaction within the far-left factions of the party, the discontent that could lead to a fracture, further complicating the Democrats’ chances in the upcoming election.
Furthermore, West offered a critique of both major political parties, alleging their unwillingness to confront essential issues such as Wall Street, Ukraine, the Pentagon, and Big Tech. He labeled Biden as a “milquetoast neo-liberal,” and former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, a “neo-fascist.”
As this third-party campaign unfolds, it signals a potential shift in the American political landscape, indicating dissatisfaction with the status quo. It also exposes an internal division within the left, providing a unique challenge for Democrats moving forward.
Indeed, West’s announcement underscores the broader political struggle in America. It comes at a time when other unexpected candidates are emerging, such as former Vice President Mike Pence and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who have also declared their intentions to run.
West’s campaign could be a substantial thorn in the Democrats’ side come 2024. His platform, focused on ending poverty, mass incarceration, wars, and ecological collapse, and guaranteeing housing, healthcare, education, and living wages for all, will surely appeal to the more progressive wing of the Democrats.
It will be interesting to see how both major parties respond to this new challenge and the potential impact on the race. The run-up to the 2024 presidential election just got a bit more complicated.