Cornel West Lambasts Democratic Party as ‘Beyond Redemption’

The political activist derides Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as “window dressing”

Cornell West (Photo credit: Getty Images)
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People’s Party 2024 presidential candidate Cornel West stopped by The Hill’s “Rising” web series Tuesday and took a hard swipe at Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — and the Democratic Party as a whole.

In a conversation about Sanders’ endorsement of President Joe Biden, West insisted in part the “Democratic Party is beyond redemption at this point when it comes to seriously speaking to the needs of poor and working people.”

West didn’t limit his condemnation to just the party. On Monday, Sanders told CNN’s Dana Bash of likely Republican nominee former President Donald Trump, “We’re taking on the … former president, who, in fact, does not believe in democracy – he is an authoritarian, and a very, very dangerous person.”

Be that as it may, West made it clear he doesn’t think Sanders’ statement is convincing. While he acknowledged that the Vermont senator has consistently spoken out against Trump, West added, “You know, he said that all along, and I can understand the argument. I think it’s a plausible argument. I just don’t think it’s a persuasive one.”

West, who recently visited Mississippi on a campaign trip, further accused the Democratic Party of being unwilling to address issues the state (and the United States as a whole) faces frequently, such as “poverty and intense police brutality.” West spoke to crowds at the National Summit Against Police Brutality and Injustice in Rankin, Mississippi, and also spoke at the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Brandon on the commemoration of the 68th anniversary of Emmett Till’s brutal murder in the state.

When it comes to Sanders’ endorsement of Biden, he concluded, “So I think in many ways Brother Bernie is making a plausible argument, but I think deep down in his heart he knows that the Democratic Party has no fundamental intention of speaking to the needs of poor people and working people.”

“They are dominated by the corporate wing, they’re dominated by the militarists when it comes to foreign policy,” West continued, “and that he and AOC and the others are going to be, in a certain sense, window dressing at worst and, at best, people to appeal to every four years.”

West’s decision to run as the People’s Party candidate in 2024 has elicited mixed reactions and some have worried that his candidacy will hand a victory to Trump, should he secure the Republican nomination.

When he announced his plan to run on June 5, West noted that his platform includes a focus on ways to “end poverty, mass incarceration, ending wars and ecological collapse, guaranteeing housing, health care, education and living wages for all,” all of which is aligned with the values of the People’s Party.

He is also no stranger to controversy and public dislike. In 2010, West wondered to NPR if President Barack Obama had a “double standard for black critics as opposed to white critics” and if Black Americans who supported the president were becoming “well-adjusted to injustice.”

Still, West also has a history of having earned respect from the revered academic institutions he worked for. Before exiting Princeton to further his own intellectual pursuits, West was awarded the first Fields Memorial Award for Social Justice.

In 2021, West ended a five-decade-long association with Harvard University amid a tenure dispute; while speaking to The Harvard Crimson, West demanded, “What the hell is so controversial and fraught about giving tenure to somebody who you gave a university professorship to 20-something years before?”

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have yet to respond to West’s comments.