By now, everyone who is paying attention knows that many of the top leaders in the Democrat Party, such as former Obama advisor David Axelrod and others are experiencing conniptions because Cornel West has announced that he's seeking the nomination for President on the Green Party line in 2024.
The often repeated mantra is that Dr. West's potential campaign as a Green is going to represent a "spoiler" for Joe Biden's reelection chances, and could help throw the White House back into the hands of Donald Trump, or Ron DeSantis, or some other Republican contender. My initial thinking is, if so, so what? Where the vast majority of the suffering-Black-masses in particular are concerned, it made absolutely zero difference whether Obama, Trump, or Biden was in the White House. For most people, nothing, (and I do mean nothing) fundamentally, significantly, or permanently changed in their lives (for the past 15 years, from 2008 to present). Thus, in some ways, the upcoming Presidential election is just as irrelevant for many as the last four (4) have been.
The fact that Dr. West will probably be in the race will or should mean issues that are normally given short shrift, will get a lot more attention, which brings us to the purpose of this article, which is, to examine what Cornel West is articulating and espousing regarding his campaign compared to messages that are being articulated by leaders of local Green Party chapters. For example, I have listened to Dr. West's campaign-related interviews on C-Span, Democracy Now, Al Jazeera, CNN, etc..., and he always discusses issues such as quality education, unemployment, racism, reparations, etc... namely, issues that are important to the suffering Black masses, in addition to many others.
The reason why I'm raising this is because based on public conversations by the local (Monroe County, western New York) Chapter of the Green Party the issues referenced above are NOT being discussed at all. And quite frankly, I'm wondering if this is also true in the cases of other predominantly, and in some cases, exclusively white, local, Green Party chapters throughout this thoroughly racist, white-supremacist-based nation-state? If so, it seems that this might be a concern for Dr. West. At least in my humble but staunch view, it ought to be. That is, one would think that he would want local chapters to be in sync regarding his campaign platform.
A prime example is that two members of the Monroe County Chapter of the Green Party's Steering Committee recently appeared on one of the county's most popular radio talk show, Connections (WXXI), where they discussed Dr. West's run for President (presumably on their Party line). What was so very interesting about their appearance was that during the hour-long program, they didn't even mention the issues outlined above. In fact the radio host claimed that "West says his campaign will focus on medicare for all; public housing; action on climate change, and drastically cutting the U.S. military budget." REALLY???
So, was the host, mister Evan Dawson (whose attitude and behavior in some cases, represents the epitome of Dr. Robin DiAngelo's concept of "nice racism"), telling us that he's not aware of the fact that Dr. West has also emphasized priorities like quality education, unemployment (especially for certain segments of the population), pervasive racism, and reparations, or did he intentionally cherry-pick the issues that he wanted to highlight and emphasize—the ones that are most important to him, and apparently most important to his guests?
It's quite telling that during the hour-long program quality education, pervasive racism, and/or reparations was not mentioned even once by the local Steering Committee members, nor the host (not even one word). Considering the current, crystal-clear reality regarding the renewed rise and continued evolution of white-supremacist-based-machinations, as exemplified by the likes of Doanld Trump, Ron Desantis and many others, how in the world could individual, institutional, and structural racism, which are thoroughly bound up together, completely intertwined, and totally inseparable from one another, NOT be a major campaign issue in 2024?
There can be no continued institutional, and/or structural racism without continued individual racism.
In fact, a huge internal contradiction was evident regarding the positions that the local Green Party representatives articulated. That is to say, on the one hand they are clear about their belief that the Democratic Party is NOT truly committed to democracy. However, one of the Green Party guests, Steering Committee member, Alex White—who routinely avoids, downplays, attempts to reduce, shift, and/or redirect dialogue concerning race and racism—claims that "Cornel West has a chance to move the Democratic Party to the left." So, obviously, White believes that Dr. West can force the Democratic Party to become a viable instrument of genuine, authentic democracy. How do we know this is true? We know, based on the answer to Dawson's question: "You're saying West's presence alone may actually get the policies that you're looking for in a Democrat?" The clear, unambiguous, immediate answer (without any hesitation at all) was "YEAH!!!" So, the end-game for the Greens is NOT to win the election. They know they can't win, but instead they are trying to force the Democratic Party to do the things that they would do if they could win. And their overall strategy to get this done is to put a candidate in the race (in this particular case, probably Dr. Cornel West) who potentially threatens to siphon off Democrat votes? How does that work?
In the final analysis, one of the local Steering Committee members kept re-emphasizing that climate change represents "the existential threat to 'our' existence"—as if it's the only issue that poses such a threat, especially where Black folks are concerned. For example, the long-standing, worsening, deep-seated, entrenched, pervasive, systemic, urban education crisis is just as much of a threat, if not more so, especially in the short term, as is climate change. So, again, Dr. West's potential presence in the race should be positive, mainly because issues that are not normally prioritized will, or should get a lot more attention. However, hopefully, he's prepared to go far beyond articulation of the Green Party's 1960's and '70's-styled anti-war/environmental agenda, which are not the things (in the here and now) that matter most to the overwhelming majority of Black folks.