Who is Cornel West, Green Party candidate for president?

Here is why some feel his candidacy is something to watch throughout the election

FILE - Harvard Professor Cornel West speaks at a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at the Whittemore Center Arena at the University of New Hampshire, Feb. 10, 2020, in Durham, N.H. West says he will run for president in 2024 as 3rd-party candidate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) (Andrew Harnik, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

When Cornel West announced on June 16 that he would be a candidate in the 2024 presidential election, some eyebrows were raised.

Not necessarily because West has good odds to win as a Green Party candidate. On the contrary, third-party candidates in recent history haven’t been serious threats at all to win the presidency.

However, the reason eyebrows were raised is that his candidacy could impact who eventually is elected president in 2024.

There are fears that if West stays in the race long enough, he could take enough votes away from candidates with better odds to win, thus altering the election outcome.

According to a Newsweek article, it has happened before.

In 2000, Ralph Nader received more than 97,000 votes in Florida, which might have taken votes away from Democratic candidate Al Gore. Eventually, Florida became the state that decided the election, which George W. Bush won by hundreds of votes over Gore.

In 2016, Green Party candidate Jill Stein might have taken votes away from Hillary Clinton in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all states Donald Trump won by less than one percentage point.

Time will tell if West will have the same impact on the race.

The 70-year-old West has degrees from Harvard and Princeton and is an author, philosopher and political activist.

West has been critical in the past of both President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama, but decided not to challenge Biden as a Democratic candidate in the primary election.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.