Political activist and academic Cornel West announced on Monday that he is running for president as a third-party candidate.
“In these bleak times, I have decided to run for truth and justice, which takes the form of running for president of the United States as a candidate for the People’s Party,” West said in a video on Twitter. “I enter in the quest for truth, I enter in the quest for justice, and the presidency is just one vehicle to pursue that truth and justice – what I’ve been trying to do all of my life.”
West, 70, is the latest Black candidate to enter the 2024 presidential race, after Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) launched his campaign last month and California radio host Larry Elder joined the GOP race in April. The author was a professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University, and focuses much of his social criticism on race, gender and class in American society.
“We’re not talking about hating anybody, we’re talking about loving, we’re talking about affirming, we’re talking about empowering those who have been pushed to the margins,” West said in his video. “Because neither political party wants to tell the truth about Wall Street, about Ukraine, about the Pentagon, about Big Tech.”
The video also included a clip of West complaining to media figure Bill Maher about how the two options voters have are “neofascists like brother Trump or milquetoast neoliberals like brother Biden.”
On West’s campaign website, the candidate’s platform includes implementing term limits in Congress, forgiving all student debt, guaranteeing health care for all, stopping foreign military aid, fighting mass incarceration and ending drilling on public lands. The scholar also said he supports abortion rights, housing equity and labor unions.
“Do we have what it takes? We shall see,” he said. “But some of us are going to go down fighting, go down swinging with a style and a smile.”
In 2015, West endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primary for the 2016 presidential election, voicing his support for the senator’s plan to redistribute wealth from Wall Street to help America’s low-income population. When Sanders exited the race in 2016, West backed Green Party candidate Jill Stein, calling Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a “neoliberal disaster.”
In the 2020 election, West again endorsed Sanders as the Democratic presidential nominee. The senator has not yet commented on West’s decision to run for president.
CORRECTION: A prior version of this story failed to note that Larry Elder had entered the GOP presidential primary.