Elizabeth wrote yesterday about taking seriously the presidential candidacy of Cornel West, and while no one thinks West will actually gain many votes, the memory of Ralph Nader’s 95,000 votes in Florida in the 2000 election still haunts the memories of Democrats. (By the way, since Cornel West has put out his own rap CDs, clearly his running mate should be the other West who has made noises about running for president—Kanye West. The ticket/bumper sticker could be “West2.“)
Clearly the left is worried about West, too. MSNBC is out with an attack on West claiming that he is . . . a conservative!
Ostensibly leftist academic Cornel West launched his third-party presidential campaign the way any true progressive would — by promoting it on a podcast known to spread right-wing extremist conspiracy theories, hosted on a video platform popular among right-wing extremists, just weeks after having praised Florida’s right-wing extremist governor, Ron DeSantis.
In his praise for the Florida Republican — in a Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined “DeSantis’s Revolutionary Defense of the Classics” — West and a conservative co-author endorsed the governor’s support for Florida high schoolers being able to qualify for scholarships by using scores from the Classic Learning Test.
So here’s the thing about West: he is a self-proclaimed radical socialist, an admirer of Castro and Cuba and likely other Communist “utopias.” He generally parrots the despicable leftist line about Israel. But he is also a devout Christian, team-teaches a very popular Great Books course with Robbie George at Princeton, and actually does think the Western Great Books canon contains enduring wisdom. (He publicly criticized Howard University for closing down its Classics department recently.) He’s departed openly from the censorious campus cancel culture. I’ve actually met him once or twice in the most unlikely circumstance: he occasionally turned up for Claremont Institute panels at the American Political Science Association annual convention, showing that he has some level of curiosity about what conservative political philosophers have to say. He often asked respectful questions during the discussion portion of the panels. No wonder the left think he is a puppet of the right.
Meanwhile, the left is also freaked out about Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s renegade candidacy. With his famous name and family legacy of helping to take down incumbent Democrat presidents (LBJ and Carter), and already polling around 20 percent among Democrats, you can sense the disturbance in The Force of the leftist Evil Empire. So what do leftists want to say about RFK Jr? That he’s . . . a conservative!
That’s the line the New York Times is taking:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a scion of one of the country’s most famous Democratic families, on Monday dived into the full embrace of a host of conservative figures who eagerly promoted his long-shot primary challenge to President Biden. . . On Monday, he sounded like a candidate far more at ease in the mushrooming Republican presidential contest. . .
He said he planned to travel to the Mexican border this week to “try to formulate policies that will seal the border permanently,” called for the federal government to consider the war in Ukraine from the perspective of Russians and said pharmaceutical drugs were responsible for the rise of mass shootings in America. . .
Asked during the discussion by David Sacks, a top DeSantis donor who is also close to Mr. Musk, “what happened to the Democratic Party,” Mr. Kennedy spent nine uninterrupted minutes attacking Mr. Biden as a warmonger and claimed that their party was under the control of the pharmaceutical industry.
There followed a lot of Times fact-checking of RFK Jr’s claims. Funny how the Times—or any other media outlet—never did any fact-checking of RFK Jr’s claims over the years about vaccines, climate change, or anything else when he was a leftist icon. But now that they are clearly worried he might do some damage to the Democratic Party, he must be destroyed. And the best way to do that for Times readers is to call him a conservative. That’ll show him!
While most of the attention on the 2024 election cycle is centered on the GOP and its Trump drama, I still say the Democrats are likely to provide us with the biggest surprises and bombshells before we get to election day next year. And I haven’t even gotten to the Joe Manchin story line yet. Stay tuned. . .