Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show
Cornel West – The Presidential Aspirations of Cornel West

Cornel West – The Presidential Aspirations of Cornel West


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On this episode of The Glenn Show, I’m joined by the one and only Brother Cornel West. The man probably needs no introduction, but I’ll give him one anyway. Cornel is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary, the author of many books, an iconic public intellectual, a celebrated activist, and now a presidential candidate competing for the Green Party nomination in 2024.

Cornel and I go way back, but he is running for the highest office in the land, and I have some questions for him about the campaign and what he’ll do if elected. But first I want to know: Why is he running for president? I ask him to outline his position on some key national issues: American military involvement abroad, inequality at home, climate change, border security, and Israel-Palestine. Cornel’s politics are well to the left of mine, and I push him on his critique of capitalism. Would he be willing to sacrifice the innovation spurred on by markets in the name of wealth redistribution? If he wins the Green Party nomination, he’ll have to run a national campaign. How will he frame his appeal to the Republican-voting middle-Americans whose votes he’ll need if he wants to win the presidency?

Whatever his chances of winning, Cornel’s intellectual heft and humanistic Christian vision will make a welcome addition to the 2024 race. If he can impart even a little of the joy he radiates to the bruising business of presidential politics, I think his campaign will have been well worth the effort. I know I’ll be keeping a close eye on Brother Cornel.

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0:00 Why Cornel is running for president

10:45 How Cornel links American militarism abroad and inequality at home

15:15 Cornel’s pitch to skeptical right-of-center voters

20:30 Is there tension between Cornel’s commitment to stopping climate change and his commitment to helping the working class?

33:50 The moral potential and pitfalls of capitalism

37:34 Might Cornel inadvertently hand the election to the Republicans?

41:44 Cornel: Tim Scott and Clarence Thomas are wrong, but they’re sincere

46:06 Why Cornel thinks the US is partially culpable for the Ukraine War

52:04 Should Palestinians recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel?

1:00:23 Cornel’s ideas about the US border

Recorded on June 16, 2023

Links and Readings

Cornel’s campaign website

Cornel’s TGS appearance with Teodros Kiros

Glenn and Richard Wolff debate capitalism and socialism

Cornel and Robert George on PBS’s Firing Line

Steve Koonin’s TGS appearance

Ernesto Cortes’s TGS appearance

Benjamin Schwartz and Christopher Layne’s Harper’s essay, “Why Are We in Ukraine?”


Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show
Race, inequality, and economics in the US and throughout the world from Glenn Loury, Professor of Economics at Brown University and Paulson Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute