Cornel West, a progressive political activist and philosopher, announced on Monday that he is launching a third-party 2024 bid for the U.S. presidency.
West said on Twitter that he was running for the White House with the small, leftist People’s Party, “fighting to end poverty, mass incarceration, ending wars and ecological collapse, guaranteeing housing, health care, education, and living wages for all!”
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.
West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He previously taught at Harvard and Princeton universities.