Cornel West is heading to Detroit to prop up the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike.
West, who’s running as a third-party presidential candidate, told The Hill exclusively on Wednesday that he intends to go to Michigan to support those calling for a higher wage and a check on CEO profits.
“Yes indeed!” he said in a text message when asked if he plans to go to the metropolitan hub of the picketing.
The insurgent West has attracted attention for running as a Green Party contender offering a more progressive pitch to voters than what he believes President Biden has brought to the table during his first term in office.
Biden and White House aides have so far declined to physically go to the UAW strike, though the president offered official support for union workers Sept. 15, the first day of the rally.
By running on a third-party ticket rather than challenging Biden for the party’s nomination, West is also looking to present another option to former President Trump in 2024, a move that Democrats have cautioned could backfire and help the Republican front-runner unintentionally.
West’s expected trip to the Midwestern battleground is notable because it’s one of just a handful of swing states that could determine the outcome of the White House in November. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), for whom West was a prominent campaign surrogate in 2020, won the Michigan primary in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, providing a surprise blow to establishment Democrats who had previously missed the populist streak in the state.
“I am sending this strong word of deep solidarity with my brothers and sisters of all colors who have the courage and the vision to go on strike to fight for dignity, to fight for wages, to fight for control over the conditions of the workplace,” West said in a campaign video the same day Biden released his statement.
“We are in a society in which class struggle is real, in which you have to make a choice, and in which when workers straighten their backs up they’re going somewhere because greedy bosses can’t ride your back unless it’s bent,” West said. “So stay strong, stay steadfast and just know I am there, spiritually, morally and physically very soon.”