There is little chance that philosopher/political activist Cornel West could actually be elected president next year, but his entry into the race for the White House has been seen as a serious concern for Democrats – especially as the 2024 election is expected to be a rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.
A substantive third-party candidate could likely benefit Trump as it could draw away voters from Biden, just as third-party candidates likely helped Trump in the 2016 election, in which he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Easy to be Green – Even if Victory is Elusive
Cornel West has launched a bid for, and likely will secure the Green Party’s nomination for the presidency.
Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday, West suggested the Democratic Party is as broken as the Republican Party with both tied to “big money” and corruption – while he further said that Trump and Biden are flawed in terms of radical issues.
“This is true for Republicans, is true for Democrats. [I’m] talking about Brother Trump himself – and Biden’s connection to [Senator John C.] Stennis, Biden’s connection to [ex-South Carolina Democrat-turned-Republican Sen. Strom] Thurmond. We know Brother Trump’s own father’s been tied to the Klan and of Trump’s language about Black people,” said West.
The former Yale University professor also told The New York Post that Biden’s history with Black Americans is nothing short of a “crime against humanity” and accused Biden of spurring mass incarceration among minorities.
“Well, I think you’ll think Joe Biden contributed to a crime against humanity when he became the architect of the mass incarceration regime in the 1990s,” said West, 70, referring to the tough-on-crime Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act Biden sponsored as a senator in 1994. The New York Post noted the bill authorized the hiring of 100,000 new police officers and allocated $9.7 billion for prisons.
“I’ve taught in prison for 41 years. And the level of barbarity in our prisons has something to do with that crime bill that he put forward,” added West, now a professor at Union Theological Seminary, an affiliate of Columbia University.
West further suggested that he believed Biden’s cognitive powers are in decline, and suggested that neither likely mainstream candidate offers the right direction for America.
“Trump is leading us toward a second civil war, Biden is leading us toward a third world war. So I am not excited about either choice,” West said. “I don’t want to just support a caretaker government against fascism every four years because sooner or later, the fascists will still win.”
Hurting Joe Biden More Than Trump?
Given how unlikely a Green Party candidate could win a White House race, West is simply taking away critical moderate votes warned some in the ranks of the Democratic Party.
The Green Party “played an outsized role in tipping the election to Donald Trump,” Democratic strategist David Axelrod told The National Review. “Now, with Cornel West as their likely nominee, they could easily do it again. Risky business.”
That sentiment was shared by former Democratic Congressman Dick Gephardt of Missouri, who told the PBS News Hour on Monday, “And it shows conclusively that, if it’s a two-person race, then Donald — that Joe Biden wins by four points, which is precisely what he won by in 2020. But if you put a third-party, independent, bipartisan candidate — and that’s the way we phrased it, to give it the best benefit of the doubt — then Joe Biden loses by five or six points.”
Yet, it could be suggested that Axelrod and Gephardt are simply accusing West – or any third-party candidate – that they should bow out rather than have Biden change his policies to appeal to voters.
As The National Review’s Noah Rothman also noted, “Perhaps. But if Joe Biden’s presidency is existentially threatened not just by the centrists defecting from his corner but the far-left progressives, too, that says more about this administration than the latest crop of eccentric also-rans.”
In other words, Cornel West isn’t Joe Biden’s headache as much as Biden’s policies are now being put into question.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.