The great news last week wasn’t Mike Pence, Chris Christie or Doug Burgum entering the Republican primary. None of those men have any chance of winning. More importantly, former Harvard professor Cornel West, a prominent left-winger, announced a third-party presidential bid. West will run as a member of the People's Party. Although we know West won’t win the 2024 presidential election, his entry is one that right-wingers should support. Right-wingers involved with political activism should help get him on the ballot in all key battleground states. Collecting signatures for him is a better use of time than campaigning for any Republican presidential candidate not named Trump or DeSantis.
West identifies as a socialist, and true leftists lack political representation in the White House. While the Democratic Party is more left-wing than the Republican Party, Joe Biden isn’t a socialist. The credit card industry loved Biden during his time as a U.S. Senator, and, like many politicians, he seemingly takes whatever political stance makes the most sense for him at any given moment. During his 2020 presidential campaign, he attacked Bernie Sanders for supporting Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal. Yet, many of those same Sanders backers supported Biden over Trump in the 2020 presidential election, despite their ideological differences.
Meanwhile, West is an economic leftist who isn’t a Zionist and supports defunding the police. If he seriously pursues this campaign, then odds are he’ll speak out about what he sees as the failings of the Biden administration. He’ll seek the support of leftists alienated by Biden. West has little crossover appeal to diehard supporters of Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis. However, leftists who wanted Trump out of office but think the country is no better with Biden in the White House may consider voting for him.
West may alienate some leftists from the political process, which would help the GOP. If he explains that voting Democrat didn’t get them a minimum wage increase, universal healthcare, and legal abortion in all 50 states, perhaps some may realize their one vote won’t determine the election outcome and stay home on Election Day.
The 2016 and 2020 presidential elections were decided by fewer than 100,000 votes combined in a few swing states despite the winners of each race obtaining more than 300 electoral votes. That matters because sometimes presidential candidates win states by less than one percent. Third-party candidates are unlikely to generate significant support levels. Yet, they can take votes away from candidates and impact election outcomes.
The key here is that West alone is unlikely to tip the presidential election from D to R. However, West won’t be the only candidate in the race. The Green Party and Libertarian Party run presidential candidates in most states. Plus, the centrist organization No Labels wants to run a unity candidate in 2024. Given that most Republican voters are self-identified conservatives and half of Democratic voters are self-identified moderates or conservatives, perhaps a so-called unity ticket appeals more to Democratic voters than Republican ones. If you’re a Republican pissed off about the 2020 election results and Biden’s presidential performance, odds are you don’t want milquetoast centrism. You want a conservative Republican to get in there to make the Trump middle-class tax cuts permanent, finish the wall and secure the border, stand up to wokeism, lock Hillary Clinton up, make gas cheap again, and prove the coronavirus lab leak theory true.
It's unclear how many people would consider voting for West, but if anyone who might otherwise support Biden votes for him, that is a win for the GOP.