In a significant political move, Cornel West, the outspoken progressive scholar and activist, has shifted his presidential candidacy from the Green Party to an independent run. West’s decision has stirred concerns among Democrats, who fear his candidacy could draw votes away from President Joe Biden and potentially bolster former President Donald Trump’s chances in the 2024 election.
West announced his shift in a social media post, emphasizing his commitment to breaking the duopoly of the two major political parties and empowering the American people with true democracy. This decision reflects West’s growing campaign and his belief that focusing solely on the people, rather than internal party dynamics, is the best approach to challenge the entrenched system.
West initially launched his 2024 presidential bid under the People’s Party ticket, aligning himself with progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, whom he had supported in both the 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Concerns about the People’s Party’s ballot access prompted West’s switch to the Green Party, which was already on the ballot in nearly 20 states.
However, West’s decision to run as an independent adds complexity to his candidacy, as he now faces the challenge of gathering the required signatures in all 50 states to secure a spot on the ballot.
While West’s fundraising efforts have been modest, Democrats are apprehensive about his impact on key elements of the Democratic base, which are crucial to Biden’s 2024 re-election prospects. In closely contested states, Democrats worry that West’s candidacy could divert votes away from Biden, potentially favoring Trump, who is the dominant frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
Despite these concerns, West has brushed off claims that he could be a spoiler, allowing Trump to reclaim the presidency. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, West acknowledged the plausibility of this argument but remained unpersuaded by it.
West’s independent run may soon be joined by other candidates seeking to break away from traditional party affiliations. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an environmental lawyer and vaccine skeptic from the prominent Kennedy political dynasty, is expected to abandon his long-shot bid for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination in favor of an independent candidacy. Additionally, the centrist group No Labels is seriously considering fielding an independent “unity” ticket for the 2024 presidential race.