Cornel West jumps into 2024 race as third-party candidate

Author and speaker supported Bernie Sanders during the latter’s two presidential runs

John Bowden
Washington DC
Monday 05 June 2023 19:42 BST
Cornel West announces 2024 presidential run

Activist Dr Cornel West announced his bid for the presidency on Monday under the banner of the progressive People’s Party.

Dr West entered the 2024 race via a campaign video released on Twitter; a campaign website for the Harvard- and Princeton-trained philosopher laid out a left-leaning platform that includes popular progressive planks like support for Medicare for all.

“I am running for truth and justice and as a candidate for president of the United States in the People’s Party. I want to reintroduce America to the best of itself – the dignity, courage, and creativity of precious everyday people. Join our movement for priceless poor and working people of all colors here and abroad,” declares a statement on Dr West’s website.

In the video, he adds: “I come from a tradition where I care about you. I care about your quality of life.”

“I care whether you have access to a job with a living wage, decent housing. Women having control over their own bodies.”

His campaign will likely win some supporters on the Bernie Sanders-aligned left, but at the same time will run up against the same structural obstacles that have hamstrung other third-party presidential bids and dissuaded many serious candidates from running at all.

Evidence of that was already breaking across Twitter in immediate response to Dr West’s announcement. “Elevate this thing Dr. West,” wrote former Sanders surrogate Nina Turner.

As a third-party candidate, Dr West will face a steep climb in terms of securing funding for his bid, which will require a small army of staffers and volunteers as well as a budget for advertising. He’ll also need to worry about securing his name on the ballot in as many states as possible — one of the main hurdles that sealed the fate of rapper Ye when he ran for president in 2020.

The People’s Party, founded by former Sanders campaign staffer Nick Brana, has stoked controversy on the American left for its support of running candidate outside of the Democratic Party, which the organisation’s founders argue is too hostile to progressive values to ever allow a truly left-leaning candidate like Mr Sanders to win its presidential nomination.

Dr West’s bid comes as another progressive, Marianne Williamson, has also sought to provide a left-leaning alternative for voters over President Joe Biden, though Ms Williamson is running as a Democrat.

Concerns about the president’s age have haunted Mr Biden, who is 80, since 2020 and show no signs of abating; polls indicate that a majority of Democrats would prefer that the president would step aside and not run for reelection in 2024.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in