US Democratic Party operatives are facing the challenge of rallying the electorate for the 2024 elections, as concerns arise about the age and declining popularity of President Joe Biden. At 82 years old on inauguration day in 2025, Biden would be the oldest president in US history to serve a second term. Despite his previous fiery career as a Delaware Senator, recent polls indicate that 73% of respondents believe he should not run again, though they would reluctantly vote for him if necessary.
Within the Democratic Party, there is a growing sentiment that a competitive primary race would be better than a mere coronation for Biden. Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota has been advocating for someone to challenge the incumbent president, hoping to inject some excitement and enthusiasm into the party. There are already candidates like Marianne Williamson and Robert Kennedy Jr. running against Biden, but they are not seen as serious contenders due to their shortcomings. However, one challenger from Biden’s left flank stands out – Dr. Cornel West.
Dr. Cornel West, an activist and academic with a prestigious background teaching at universities like Yale and Harvard, is running a third-party campaign under the banner of the People’s Party. By doing so, he aims to bypass the Democratic Party’s perceived corruption. This move has caused concern within the White House, particularly because West may have ballot access in some battleground states, potentially siphoning off votes from Biden. This has led to debates about whether voting for West would be throwing away one’s vote or benefitting the eventual Republican nominee.
Some argue that West’s candidacy could harm Biden’s chances, especially among Black voters. West, a Black man, has a deeper understanding of racial issues compared to Biden, who sponsored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 that disproportionately affected Black Americans. CNN has reported on the Democratic Party’s alarm about West’s Green Party bid and fears about Black voter enthusiasm. Additionally, there have been attempts to delegitimize West’s campaign by highlighting his unpaid taxes, perpetuating stereotypes about Black individuals.
Critics argue that blaming third-party candidates for election losses is flawed. They believe that parties should craft policies and messages that resonate with voters and form the necessary coalitions to win elections. Ultimately, no party is entitled to anyone’s vote, and if the Democratic Party feels threatened by West, it should be a signal to reevaluate its platform.
The Democratic Party’s establishment, however, has a different approach. Since Bill Clinton’s presidency in the 1990s, they have adopted a strategy of triangulation, where they shift towards the center-right to win over moderate voters. This assumes that left-wing voters have nowhere else to go and will fall in line, allowing the party to appease corporate interests. Critics argue that this strategy ignores pressing issues like the cost of living, stagnant wages, climate change, and nuclear threats, and undermines grassroots movements seeking meaningful change.
It is increasingly clear that the current political system, dominated by the two major parties, is failing many Americans. As MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell suggests, people must demonstrate that they won’t be manipulated into voting for a failed program and corrupt party. If casting a spoiler vote for candidates like Cornel West results in the Democratic Party losing to the Republicans, it signifies that the onus is on the party to earn the voters’ support rather than the other way around.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of RT.