Cornel West is endorsing Democratic candidate Brent Welder, in Kansas’ Third Congressional District race. Republican Kevin Yoder currently holds the seat.
West is a Princeton professor of divinity, acclaimed for mounds of academic books on social justice. He endorsed Barack Obama when the then-Illinois Senator announced he would seek the Presidency. West introduced Obama to a crowd at the Apollo Theater in Harlem as “my brother, my companion, and my comrade.”
However, West expressed doubts about Obama when the he made his initial campaign announcement among Illinois politicos rather than at a State of the Black Union meeting hosted by Tavis Smiley. Those doubts eventually turned to boiling rage as Obama’s presidency progressed. In 2011, West unloaded on the President for being “a black mascot for Wall Street oligarchs.” Obama, West said, was America’s last chance to fight against Wall Street greed and corporate plutocrats.
“We are squeezing out all of the democratic juices we have. The escalation of the class war against the poor and the working class is intense. More and more working people are beaten down. They are world-weary. They are into self-medication. They are turning on each other. They are scapegoating the most vulnerable rather than confronting the most powerful. It is a profoundly human response to panic and catastrophe. I thought Barack Obama could have provided some way out. But he lacks backbone,” West said in Truthdig.
Welder bragged about the endorsement and shared a video of it a campaign fundraising email.
In the video, West says, “The legacy of Bernie Sanders is the legacy of working and poor people being empowered no matter what color, but he understands white supremacy, wealth inequality, male supremacy–he keeps track of the oppression of gay, lesbian, trans and bi-sexual and he takes a stand. He’s my brother.”
Welder writes that he and West served together on the Democratic National Platform Committee and worked to pass the most progressive platform in history.
Fortunately for Welder, West stopped short of calling the Congressional candidate “comrade” as the socialist phrase might not sell all that well in suburban Johnson County, a large portion of the Third Congressional District.
There are six Democratic candidates vying to run against Yoder in 2018. West, known as an outspoken advocate for black and gender equality, is endorsing one of the handful of white men, Welder, in the race. There is one woman, Andrea Ramsey, in the race.
Despite the high caliber social justice endorsement, Welder’s campaign is cash poor compared to others in the race. According to third quarter finance reports, Yoder has a $1.4 million campaign war chest. Ramsey has $374,000 on hand and Tom Neirmann, another Democratic candidate, has $125,000 in campaign cash. Welder reported $108,000.