Although every U.S. election ultimately seems to boil down Democrat vs. Republican, the truth is that in every election cycle, tons of independent candidates run to attempt to gain traction, influence the race, and give disaffected voters who don’t identify with either major party a real chance to have their voice heard.
2024 is shaping up to be no different in this regard. Unfortunately, most independent candidates for president gain little media traction, and many aren’t even aware of their non-duopolistic options for president.
Well, have no fear reader, for that’s what we’re here for. Here’s a total breakdown of all the declared independent and third party candidates for president and what they’re all about.
Let’s rock (the vote).
Cornel West is an author, academic, left-wing activist, political commentator and public intellectual best known for his books Race Matters and Democracy Matters. He’s also best known for his absolutely iconic hairstyle.
West got his start in political activism during the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s, after which he graduated from Harvard University and later earned a PhD in Philosophy from Princeton. Throughout his varied and eccentric career as a public intellectual, West has served as a professor of philosophy, hosted radio shows, podcasts, frequently gives talks and lectures on left-wing political topics, particularly the issue of race in America, acted in two of The Matrix films, and has even released several spoken-word and hip hop albums.
Yeah, this guy has had a pretty interesting life, to say the least.
He’s known for his firebrand style of rhetoric, heavily influenced by his upbringing in the African American church community, and is known for his distinctly non-political correct manner of approaching topics in public life. He supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 and 2020 elections
West is currently seeking the nomination of The Green Party, after having withdrawn his intent to seek the nomination of The People’s Party earlier in 2023. He’s running on a platform of term limits in democracy, Medicare For All, expanding civil liberties, protecting the environment, ending foreign wars, and in his words, “Neither political party wants to tell the truth about Wall Street, about Ukraine, about the Pentagon, about big tech,” West said. “Do we have what it takes? We shall see.”
Joseph “Afroman” Foreman
Joseph Foreman, better known by his hip hop pseudonym Afroman, is a rapper currently running for president as an independent on a platform of full-scale cannabis legalization.
Best known for his smash-hit 2000 single “Because I Got High,” which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance, Foreman has been an activist and advocate for legalizing marijuana for recreational use nationwide, and this is considered his signature issue.
After announcing his candidacy after a concert in Missouri, Foreman’s campaign manager, Jason Savage laid out why Foreman decided to throw his hat in the ring: “Who better to hold the highest office in the land, than the highest and flyest playa in the game? He is for the black man, Mexican, even poor white, all human beings that have no rights. So put down your past, and pick up your future.”
Foreman himself outlined his top eight priorities as a presidential candidate on Instagram: decriminalization of cannabis, criminal justice reform, law enforcement reform, immediate half of all foreign aid, reparations for African Americans, promotion of unity, peace and love, promotion of celebratory displays in professional sports, and legalization of prostitution.
Chase Oliver, the former chairman of the Atlanta Libertarian Party and former Congressional candidate for Georgia’s 5th district in the 2020 election, is currently seeking the nomination of the Libertarian Party. His candidacy in the 2022 Senate race in Georgia as a “spoiler candidate” is widely credited with helping sending the race into a runoff election between Senator Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker.
As a self-described champion of individual rights, Oliver is running on a platform of reforming immigration, criminal justice reform, ending the war on drugs, and introducing more market-based alternatives to what he sees as “government overregulation” of the healthcare industry.
Lars Mapstead is running for the nomination of the Libertarian Party on a platform of implementing the Fair Tax, having 12-year term limits in Congress, and introducing Ranked Choice Voting.
Mike ter Maat
Mike ter Maat is running for the nomination of the Libertarian Party. A former police officer and business educator, ter Maat is running on a platform he terms “The Gold New Deal,” a re-envisioning of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal that centers around individual participation in the marketplace above government-funded programs for the poor.
John Anthony Castro
A businessman and perennial political candidate, John Anthony Castro is running for president in 2024 as an independent conservative, specifically setting his sights on providing a conservative alternative for former president Donald Trump, whom he sued the FEC to attempt to make it illegal for Trump to ever run for office again. A graduate of the Harvard Business School, Castro is running for president on a platform of American energy independence, tax-free retirement, and a conservative expansion of public education.
Yes, Kanye West – the Grammy Award-winning anti-semite now going as Ye – has technically declared his candidacy for president in 2024, though it remains to be seen how legitimate of a campaign it is, considering he has not yet filed the required paperwork with the FEC yet.