Dr. Cornel West Switches to Green Party
Last week, when Dr. Cornel West announced his run for president of the United States, many of his supporters like Nina Turner, Lupe Fiasco, and Chris Hedges rejoiced. A plethora of progressives have been calling on West to run for decades, but many quickly criticized his decision to run under the People’s Party ticket. West was a founding member of the People’s Party and he believed that his campaign could transform the organization that has been steeped in controversy.
After a week of analysis, West, who is always pushing himself to learn and evolve, announced yesterday that he is going to switch affiliations and run for the Green Party’s nomination. As of November 2022, the Green Party was slated to appear on ballots in 16 states and the District of Columbia in 2024, but the party has been actively working to increase that number.
“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
Why? Because President Cornel West is a legitimate threat to the status quo.
West’s May 5th announcement video has racked up 18.8 million views on Twitter and another 881,000 views on Instagram, yet NPR, Lester Holt and Norah O’Donnell never mentioned it on their nightly news programs. If it wasn’t for Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!, Dr. West’s campaign launch would’ve been kept off public television altogether. And while the AP did run a neutral piece (that got picked up by many newspapers and digital outlets) the fact that NPR, NBC Nightly News, and CBS Evening News all pretended like it never happened is a blaring omission.
The Status Quo Fears a West Presidency
In addition to the omissions, the attack pieces did not take long. The first attack came from MSNBC: “Cornel West’s ‘leftist’ presidential bid has right-wing DNA” by Ja’han Jones, who criticized West for doing an interview with Russel Brand and West’s defense of teaching the traditional classics (which in West’s definition includes the likes of Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and many banned books). West wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal last month agreeing with Gov. Ron DeSantis decision to support the classics, while he has also consistently rebuked DeSantis for his racist and homophobic rhetoric.
If Jones did a little research before publishing his piece, he would have learned that The Wall Street Journal changed the title of the piece to “DeSantis’s Revolutionary Defense of the Classics.” A title that Dr. West did not approve and was dismayed to see in print.
West, 70, has spent his life fighting alongside the most disenfranchised and marginalized groups from around the world. From working with the Black Panther Party’s free breakfast program to organizing boycotts against South Africa’s apartheid government to decades of teaching in prisons, West has a consistent track record of standing with the people who are catching hell from their governments. For Jones to insinuate that Dr. Cornel West or his campaign “has right-wing DNA” and that West is lying when he says he is running “for truth and justice” is as absurd and transparent as NPR’s omission.
Democracy For All?
A day after MSNBC attacked West’s presidential aspirations, The Nation published a piece entitled, “Cornel West Should Not Be Running for President.” Joan Walsh embodied the status quo’s sentiment in her second sentence: “Cornel West has no business running for president, from the left, right, or center.”
Walsh claims that West will take votes away from Joe Biden and for that reason he should not run. But that take assumes that Biden has been good for the most vulnerable across the globe and that West will not take votes away from the GOP candidate. West has spent his entire career criticizing both sides of the aisle and his voice is desperately needed as we slide closer to fascism and nuclear catastrophe. As West told Democracy Now!, “I’m thoroughly convinced that, of course, the neofascist Republican Party has already made it very clear that they’re tied to Big Business and Big Military, Big Tech and so forth. And the milquetoast neoliberal Democratic Party strikes me as being incapable of taking seriously the fundamental needs of poor and working people, not just here, but around the world.”
Dr. West teaches his students the best of Athens. In his classes he depicts a vision of democracy that must be strived for. A democracy where money does not dictate terms. A democracy that allows suffering to speak and deters hoarding and greed. Dr. Cornel West would make for the most thoughtful and democratic president in the history of this country. And this is why a Cornel West presidency is so terrifying to the status quo.