The influential scholar and civil rights activist Cornel West has broken with Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, answering black voters’ skepticism about Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign with an endorsement of the socialist candidate.

A professor at Union Theological Seminary, West declared his support for Sanders in a series of Twitter messages Monday night.

West anticipated some of the standard criticism being leveled at Sanders by pundits and activists on the left, including Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, who has given his opinion that Sanders will not win the Democratic nomination and that the energy stirred up by Sanders’ campaign will ultimately be leveraged as support for what Hedges views as an unreformable Democratic Party.

The New York Times’ Alan Rapport wrote of West’s endorsement of Sanders:

The endorsement is a valuable one for Mr. Sanders, who has been gaining ground on Hillary Rodham Clinton in recent polls but who has faced protests from Black Lives Matter activists who have said he is not sufficiently supportive of their cause. This month, a group of activists cut short one of the Sanders rallies when they took the stage and commandeered his microphone.

Mr. West, who has been critical of President Obama’s efforts to uplift African-American causes, explained recently that Mr. Sanders would best serve black people because of his desire to clamp down on Wall Street and to invest in working people and poor people.

And, watch Chris Hedges’ two-part TeleSUR interview with Cornel West:

PART 1: Chris Hedges, Cornel West on Black Prophetic Tradition

PART 2: Chris Hedges, Cornel West on the Demonization of the Black Poor

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.