Cornel West defends third-party presidential bid – NBC News

Green Party presidential candidate Cornel West blasted America’s two-party political system as an “impediment for the flower of American democracy” as he defended his candidacy from questions about whether it could sap support from President Joe Biden.

“The vast number of voters who would vote for the Green Party and myself either would not vote at all, or would never, ever, ever vote for Biden or Trump,” West said during an interview on Meet the Press NOW.

“There’s this narrative, I think it’s a false narrative, thinking somehow they’re choosing between Biden and myself. No, not really, they’ve given up on Biden.”

West, a professor who has taught at a handful of Ivy League schools and an activist with a following on the political left, announced his presidential bid in June. He first aligned with “The People’s Party,” he’s since said he’d seek the Green Party nomination — a party with better ballot access.

Asked why he’s running for the Green Party nomination instead of challenging Biden in the Democratic Party primary, West said that “neither party is speaking to the pressing needs of poor and working people.”

“So the two-party system itself is becoming in an impediment for the flowering of American democracy,” he said.

“We’ve got too many fellow citizens, 63%, living paycheck-to-paycheck. … I must say that it’s hard to view oneself as a spoiler when there is increasing rot in the system with two parties connected to big money, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and militarism abroad.”

While West had previously backed Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bids, he told Meet the Press NOW that he disagreed with Sanders’ decision to endorse Biden. West added that he has not discussed his bid with Sanders, a political ally, and criticized the Democratic Party’s treatment of Sanders and referred to Biden as selling “milquetoast mediocrity.”

West wasn’t always interested in working outside the Democratic Party. In 2004, he joined others who supported Green Party nominee Ralph Nader’s 2000 presidential bid in signing a letter that called on progressives to rally behind then-Democratic nominee John Kerry.

Asked about that letter, where he and others said that “for people seeking progressive social change in the United States, removing George W. Bush from office should be the top priority in the 2004 presidential election,” West noted he supported Biden during the 2020 election despite his frustrations with Biden’s record on the Iraq War and criminal justice.

“The sad thing is now that as dangerous as a second Trump term would be, if we don’t break out of the corporate duopoly, we’re going to be doing this for the next 10, 20, 30 years,” West said.

“I don’t think the American project can withstand it, this shift from Democrats to Republicans, and Democrats feeding the Republicans, Republicans feeding the Democrats, and yet, poor people, working people finding themselves pushed to the margins.”

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