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‘Don’t Know Why Alarm Bells Aren’t Going Off’: Why Some Democrats Fear Cornel West Could be a Threat to Joe Biden In the 2024 Presidential Election

Cornel West, a renowned academic and a civil-rights activist, is running as a Green Party candidate for president, sparking anxiety among Democrats.

The memory of Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee in 2016, whose votes may have impacted the election in key battleground states, haunts Democrats.

West denies being a spoiler, but his candidacy worries Democrats who fear he could siphon votes away from their nominee, potentially helping the Republicans win. Democrats, including influential figures like David Axelrod and Cedric Richmond, emphasize the importance of unity and caution against third-party candidacies.

Dr. Cornel West Calls Out ‘Shadow of Jim Crow’ In Scathing Resignation Letter to Harvard Over Tenure Dispute
Cambridge, Massachusetts – Oct. 11: Cornell West introduces Colin Kaepernick at the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Award Ceremony at Harvard University on Oct. 11, 2018, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

“This is going to sneak up on people,” said Axelrod, now a CNN commentator. “I don’t know why alarm bells aren’t going off now, and they should be at a steady drumbeat from now until the election.”

No Labels, a group seeking a unity ticket, is also a concern, as it could split votes. West’s candidacy is significant due to his following among college-age and progressive voters. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsements of Biden are seen as crucial in persuading progressives to support the Democratic nominee. Despite criticisms of Biden, many believe he is the better choice compared to the alternative, which they fear could lead to a return of Donald Trump’s presidency.

West is a Democratic socialist, and while he doesn’t have much chance of winning the election according to some political pundits, he could pull votes from Biden and give an edge to Republicans. Twice-impeached former president Trump is expected to be the Republican Party’s nominee, despite his 37-count federal indictment for charges that include obstruction of justice and unlawful retention of defense information.

During the 2000 presidential election, Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election to Republican George. W. Bush and many blame third-party candidate Ralph Nader for the defeat after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Bush won by a 537-vote margin following a recount in the state.

It happened again in 2016 when votes for Green Party nominee Stein took away crucial votes from Hillary Clinton in battleground states and thereby handed Trump victory in the electoral vote. Axelrod, former adviser for President Barack Obama, believes it could happen again in 2024.

Reports show Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the 2016 election due to his appeal to Rust Belt voters and blue-collar workers, strong positions on trade and immigration, the unpopularity of his opponent, Hillary Clinton and low Black voter turnout.

According to Republican political consultant Mark Weaver, West would take votes from groups that traditionally vote Democrat — young voters under 40 and Black voters.

“This is very dangerous for Joe Biden,” Weaver told Newsweek. “Because the groups West pulls from are traditional Democrat groups and that spells real trouble for Joe Biden.”

While Biden is currently polling with a lead over the disgraced ex-president, votes for West could alter the election. A recent poll from Race to the WH shows Biden leading Trump 44.1 percent to 42.2 percent.

West appeared on CNN on July 14 and told journalist Kaitlan Collins that Democrats should focus more on helping the working class.

“Neither Party wants to tell the truth about poor and working people,” said West, adding that voters should pay attention to the actors and writers’ strikes currently happening in Hollywood.

“I’m just trying to speak the truth and pursue justice,” he added. “I wish they would spend as much time focusing on the plight of poor and working people as they do focusing on the ‘spoiler.’ I don’t even like that category.”

After Collins responded that Democrats are worried a third party could tip another election, West pushed back and blamed the Democratic Party for not caring enough about the plight of poor voters.

“It’s simply not true,” he said, adding that he respected Nader, Stein and Sanders. “Examine yourselves. Examine why it is you did not speak to the interests of poor and working people and, therefore, you lost. If you’d rather lose than really change and examine yourself, then you’re going to have third parties popping up all over the place because people are suffering out here.”

West went on to say that Trump is a gangster and neo-fascist who is leading us to a second Civil War, but Biden is leading the country into a third world war.

“Let us try another way,” he added.

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