Cornel West, the 70-year-old activist and public intellectual, announced on Monday that he is running for president in the 2024 election as a candidate for the People’s party. West made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter, saying that he had “decided to run for truth and justice”.
“I come from a tradition where I care about you,” West said. “I care about the quality of your life, I care about whether you have access to a job with a living wage, decent housing, women having control over their bodies, healthcare for all.”
West’s video, interspersed with photos of his life in activism and clips of himself on Joe Rogan’s and Bill Maher’s shows, also directed viewers to his campaign website, which includes some of his political platform and calls for donations. The range of West’s policies include instituting Medicare for All, banning corporate lobbying, disbanding Nato, stopping all foreign military aid and abolishing student debt.
West, a professor of philosophy and Christian practice at the Union Theological Seminary and former professor at Harvard University, has been a prominent academic figure and commentator for decades. He has repeatedly criticized what he describes as a neoliberal establishment that dominates politics, and described himself as a democratic socialist. Occasionally he has become more directly involved in politics, including in 2016 when he supported then Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and appeared with him on the campaign trail.
West promoted his bid for the presidency on Monday in an appearance on Russell Brand’s popular show on the online video sharing platform Rumble. West told Brand, a frequent amplifier of conspiracy theories, that he watches Brand’s show “religiously” as the two discussed West’s campaign.
“We need some radicalism within politics,” Brand said at the start of his show, before mentioning him in the same breath as other long-shot presidential candidates Marianne Williamson and anti-vaccine activist Robert F Kennedy Jr.
“Why we were pleased to talk to Marianne Williamson, why we were pleased to talk to Robert F Kennedy on this show, that’s why we are excited to talk to Dr Cornel West.”
The field of candidates in the 2024 presidential election is steadily increasing, with Republicans such as Senator Tim Scott and Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, announcing their bids in recent weeks. A Morning Consult poll from last week showed Donald Trump with a 34-point lead over DeSantis for the Republican nomination.