Can Green Party Candidate Cornel West Play Spoiler in the 2024 Election? The Answer May Surprise You

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Presidential politics on the Democrat side are getting increasingly more interesting. While Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Marianne Williamson are already declared challengers to President Joe Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom appears to be waiting in the wings, Cornel West is now running as a Green Party candidate. 

Given the Democrats response to West thus far, there is increasing belief that he has the potential to seriously complicate the vote. On Thursday’s show, Megyn was joined by Glenn Greenwald, host of Rumble’s System Update, to discuss West’s ability to play spoiler and some on the left are already trying to take him down.

Candidate Cornel West

In early June, West, 70, announced his 2024 candidacy on social media. The professor, author, and political activist said he is running for “truth and justice” and to “reintroduce America to the best of itself – fighting to end poverty, mass incarceration, ending wars and ecological collapse, guaranteeing housing, health care, education and living wages for all.”

West published the bestseller Race Matters in 1993, which Greenwald noted is “considered by many people to be one of the most profound intellectual works on race.” While West “has always been a left-wing critic of the Democratic Party,” Greenwald said “he’s kind of maintained one foot inside of it the way [Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)] used to pretend to do.”

That is until now. “West thinks both parties are equally terrible, that he can’t support either, and he’s running as a third-party candidate with the Green Party the way Jill Stein did in 2016,” Greenwald shared. “And one major problem for the Democrats is that he is… very popular among a lot of black voters on whom Democrats rely on in every election to win.”

Greenwald believes West also has a style and message that appeals to a segment of voters Democrats have been losing. “He has this ability to speak to working class people in a way that makes them feel like they’re not hearing stale, left-wing dogma,” he said. “He’s exciting. He’s charismatic. He’s funny. He’s very human.”

For all of those reasons, West “poses a huge threat to the Democratic Party because, even if you take two or three percent from Joe Biden, that obviously can make a difference given the way our elections are run,” Greenwald said.

Sanders Attacks West

It would appear as though the Democrat Party sees West in a similar way because the attacks on him have already begun. In 2016 and 2020, West supported the candidacy of Sanders and the progressive wing of the party he represented – but the Vermont senator is clearly not returning the favor.

During an appearance on CNN, Sanders condemned West’s run. “Where I disagree with my good friend, Cornel West is, I think, in these really very difficult times, where there is a real question whether democracy is going to remain in the United States of America… I think we’ve got to bring the entire progressive community to defeat Trump or whoever the Republican nominee will be,” he said.

During an interview with The Hill TV, West responded. “Whether Bernie’s making a plausible argument… I think deep down in his heart he knows that the Democratic Party has no fundamental intention of speaking to the needs of poor people and working people,” he said. “Even AOC and the others are going to be, in a certain sense, window dressing at worst and, at best, people to appeal to every four years.”

Greenwald called Sanders’ actions “despicable” and “grotesque” – especially when you consider that a very similar argument was made against his candidacy in both 2016 and 2020. “For Bernie to be willing… to attack his good friend, someone who supported him for many years, shows that there is no more internal dissent within the Democratic Party,” he said. “It’s sad to watch.”

What Comes Next

Megyn said it is clear that West “is not persuaded by the Bernie message that we’ve got to get the entire Democratic Party unified and on board to defeat the fascist Trump.” And it is also clear there is some discomfort on the left about his chances. “They’re happy to come after him because he actually may be siphoning votes off… and Joe Biden cannot afford to lose any votes, never mind votes within the black community,” she explained. “He cannot lose the black vote, period.”

Greenwald agreed that West will not back down. “If you have someone like Cornel West saying… ‘Democrats don’t care about the working class; they don’t care about the poor,’ that is not something that Democrats want,” he said. “And I don’t think they believe they can persuade Cornel West to stop.” 

That means he must be thwarted in other ways. “They’ve launched this repulsive campaign depicting him as a deadbeat dad, as a tax cheat. What’s next? Drug dealer,” Greenwald asked. “It really shows just how craven these people are.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Greenwald by tuning in to episode 619 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.