One of America’s most famous socialists has announced that he’s running as a third party to the president of the United States.
No, it’s not Bernie Sanders, but Cornell West, a longtime scholar and activist. He announced that he will be running as a candidate from the People’s Party.
I am running for truth and justice as a presidential candidate for the People’s Party to reintroduce America to the best of itself – fighting to end poverty, mass incarceration, ending wars and ecological collapse, guaranteeing housing, health care, education and living wages for… pic.twitter.com/u3NYGUbG1S
— Cornel West (@CornelWest) June 5, 2023
“I enter for the quest for truth. I enter for the quest of justice. And the presidency is just one vehicle we pursue that truth and justice,” he said in his introductory message.
He added: “I come from a tradition where I care about you. I care about the quality of your life. I care about whether you have access to a job with a living wage, decent housing, women having control over their bodies, health care for all, the escalating destruction of the planet, the destruction of American democracy.”
The Washington Free Beacon reports, “West, 70, a prominent philosopher whose works have focused on race and class in U.S. society, enters the race with little hope of winning the White House but with a chance of siphoning votes from Democratic President Joe Biden in next year’s election.
‘I want to reintroduce America to the best of itself – the dignity, courage and creativity of precious everyday people,’ West declared on his People’s Party website.
The history of American presidential politics is littered with failed third-party attempts. But some have had major impacts on presidential elections.
Ross Perot’s third-party run in the 1992 election is widely seen as a significant factor in the defeat of former Republican president George H.W. Bush to Democrat Bill Clinton, as Perot siphoned off a chunk of Republican voters in the nearly 20 million votes he received.
In 2000, many analysts believe Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore would have beaten Republican George W. Bush if Green Party candidate Ralph Nader had not run. Nader appeared on the ballot in crucial swing states, including Florida where the entire presidential election was decided by a few hundred votes, giving Bush the presidency.”
Politico noted that West may have some extra time on his hands nowadays. “West is known for his academic activism. He is the former professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University and professor emeritus at Princeton University.
In the announcement video, West, 70, claims that he cares more about voters and their quality of life than other political parties.
‘Neither political party wants to tell the truth about Wall Street, about Ukraine, about the Pentagon, about big tech,’ West said. ‘Do we have what it takes? We shall see.’
West first left a Harvard position in 2002 amid a series of disputes with then-university president Lawrence Summers, joining Princeton University instead. In 2021, West again left a Harvard post over a tenure dispute, accusing the school of ‘intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths.’ He is currently the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary.”
The announcement by West received the consternation from liberals who think anyone to the left of Mitt Romney should bow down to Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, lest they “re-elect Trump.”
You helped get Trump elected once. So, this isn’t much of a shock. https://t.co/7hZHmfaGe6
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) June 5, 2023
The New York Daily News noted that reactions that “some Twitter users worried West’s candidacy would split the liberal vote and hand the election to the Republican nominee. Many conservatives saw that as a good thing and blasted him for being too liberal. Others commented on his unique sartorial choices, even comparing the California-raised academic’s look to that of a ‘Scottish Baptist minister’ from the past.”
The People’s Party is the brainchild by Nick Brana, a former campaign employee of the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign. The party tried to recruit Bernie after he conceded to Hillary, but the Vermont senator declined to get involved and again sought the Democratic nomination in 2020.
West’s campaign website listed a broad set of priorities, ranging from creating “a true democracy” in the United States to expanding Social Security, wiping out medical debt and disbanding NATO.