- The Washington Times - Friday, July 15, 2016

Activist Cornel West, a Democratic platform committee member, has announced he will vote for the Green Party presidential candidate instead of Democrat Hillary Clinton, calling her a “neo-liberal disaster.”

Mr. West’s decision to vote against Ms. Clinton comes even though he participated in drafting the 2016 Democratic National Convention platform after being named to the committee by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“This November, we need change. Yet we are tied in a choice between [Donald] Trump, who would be a neo-fascist catastrophe, and Clinton, a neo-liberal disaster,” said Mr. West in a Thursday op-ed in the (U.K.) Guardian.

A former Ivy League professor, Mr. West ultimately abstained from casting a final vote on the Democratic platform earlier this month over what he described as the party’s “moral failures.”

Instead, Mr. West said he would support Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party presidential nominee. The party’s nominating convention is scheduled for Aug. 4-7 in Houston.

“I have a deep love for my brother Bernie Sanders, but I disagree with him on Hillary Clinton,” Mr. West said. “I don’t think she would be an outstanding president. Her militarism makes the world a less safe place.”

His defection represents a blow to the Democratic Party’s efforts to bring out black voters in November, given the longtime activist’s prominence as a civil-rights advocate and supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mr. West also criticized President Obama for delivering remarks last week in Dallas honoring the five police officers murdered July 7 by a sniper during a Black Lives Matter protest, but failing to attend events in Louisiana and Minnesota for black men shot and killed recently in confrontations with police.

“Unfortunately, Obama thrives on being in the middle. He has no backbone to fight for justice,” Mr. West said. “He likes to be above the fray. But for those us who are in the fray, there is a different sensibility. You have to choose which side you’re on, and he doesn’t want to do that.”

A member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Mr. West is on the faculty at Union Theological Seminary after teaching previously at Harvard and Princeton.

“I am incredibly honored to have the support of the legendary Dr. Cornel West, a great American intellectual activist who has tirelessly carried the torch passed by love warriors like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Ms. Stein said in a statement. “Dr. West’s truth-telling voice is especially needed now, with Americans across the country rising up against a morally bankrupt political system.”

The Democratic National Convention is being held July 25-29 in Philadelphia.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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