Peter Daou, who served as campaign manager for Marianne Williamson’s 2024 Democratic presidential campaign for a month before resigning, has taken command for losing the Green Party’s presidential nominee Cornel West.
“I am so very blessed to have my dear brother Peter Daou as my campaign manager,” said West. “I welcome him to our campaign and movement! We will work together for truth and justice.”
“It is an honor to be part of Dr. Cornel West’s historic campaign for president,” Daou said. “Dr. West is a man of deep personal integrity, great accomplishment, and far-reaching vision. His presence in the 2024 race gives voters an exceptional choice for truth and justice beyond the corrupt and corrosive duopoly.”
“Democracy means choice, it means options for voters, not coronations and vote-shaming,” Daou said. “It is long past time to practice democracy rather than just pay it lip service. I intend to work with Dr. West, his incredible team, the Green Party, and our allies across the political spectrum to give voice to the people.”
West, a professor of philosophy at Harvard University, is a longtime critic of the Democratic Party. He has called for a “third way” beyond the two major parties, and his campaign is focused on issues such as economic inequality, climate change, and racial justice.
“I am running for President because these are urgent times, not times for business as usual, not times for shutting down debate, including debate on the existential questions of war and climate,” said West.
However, West’s chances of winning the 2024 presidential election are incredibly slim. About 40 percent of American voters are affiliated with each of the two major parties, and the remaining 20 percent lack cohesion on such a wide range of issues that they are unlikely to coalesce behind one candidate.
In addition, Democrats and Republicans will amass campaign budgets in excess of one billion dollars and command attention in the most prominent news media, while West will struggle to keep the lights on at his campaign headquarters.
Despite his inability to win, West threatens to help return Donald Trump to the White House or elect another Republican by siphoning support from President Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, or Robert Kennedy, depending on which one is the Democratic nominee.
“I understand that the Green Party is a long shot,” West said in a statement. “But I believe that it is important to offer a progressive alternative to the two major parties. I am not running to win, I am running to make a difference.”
Daou has more than 20 years of national political experience attached to losing campaigns, including John Kerry’s 2004 race and Hillary Clinton’s two surprising defeats.
Daou’s decision to join West’s campaign is a sign of the growing rift between the Democratic Party establishment and the progressive wing of the party but the Green Party has not gained serious traction in previous presidential campaigns.
In 2000, consumer advocate Ralph Nader received 2.74% of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a Green Party candidate in a presidential election.
Four years later, David Cobb, an environmental activist and political organizer, received 0.5% of the popular vote and Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Representative from Georgia, received 0.12% of the popular vote in 2008.
In 2012, claiming that there were no significant differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, physician and environmental activist Jill Stein received 469,015 votes or 0.36% of the popular vote, and during the 2016 campaign that contended the Democratic and Republican parties are “two corporate parties” that have converged into one and she finished with over 1,457,216 ballots or 1.07% of the popular vote.
On a platform that included the Green New Deal funded by military spending cuts, Medicare for All, a federal jobs guarantee, a $20 minimum wage, and a guaranteed minimum income, labor union activist Howie Hawkins received 407,068 votes (0.26%) of the popular vote on November 3, 2020.
Daou is a former Clinton supporter who has become increasingly critical of the Democratic Party in recent years. He has accused the party of being too beholden to corporate interests and of not doing enough to address the needs of working people.
It is not clear whether he was fired or abandoned Williamson’s campaign, which sought to return dignity and economic justice to the American worker with a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights, but at the time he left the decision was attributed to a need for Daou and his wife to care for elderly parents.
During the month he was affiliated with the Williamson effort, Daou was paid $16,934, more than Andrea Mérida was paid during the full year she served as manager of the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins/Angela Walker campaign, but West’s campaign did not disclose the new campaign manager’s salary.
West’s campaign could attract support from voters who are disillusioned with the two major parties, but Daou’s experience in political campaigns has not ever resulted in a victory.
Daou was an online communications adviser to the John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign. In 2006, when he was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign, The New York Times described him as “one of the most prominent political bloggers in the nation.”
According to The Washington Post in 2007, Daou was seen by early political bloggers “as the Yoda of the blogosphere because of the Daou Report, a comprehensive snapshot of the Web’s blue and red blogs that he wrote until joining the Clinton campaign.”
Daou led Clinton’s digital operation in her 2008 campaign when she went from being the inevitable nominee to the loser as Barack Obama captured the Democratic nod in Denver.
He was an outspoken Clinton advocate in 2016, often bashing Bernie Sanders, saying after the election, “Bernie and his fringe of fake progressives helped elect Trump and enabled the GOP attack on women’s rights.”
In 2019, he announced his support for the Vermont lawmaker, saying insights gained from past experience working for the Democratic Party’s establishment drove him away.
In 2019, Daou became an advisor to the progressive congressional campaigns of Lindsey Boylan (NY-10), Lauren Ashcraft (NY-12), Rebecca Parson (WA-06), and Melanie D’Arrigo (NY-03) all of whom were defeated in primary elections with less than 20 percent of the vote.
Daou, who was born and raised in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War, says he was conscripted at the age of 15 by the Christian militia and underwent three years of military training alongside his schooling.
He attended the American University of Beirut, and amid ongoing strife in Lebanon, moved to New York to study philosophy at New York University.
Daou’s father was Catholic and he was baptized into his father’s faith although his mother is an American of Jewish descent who was born and raised in New York.
West’s campaign is considered a significant indication of growing disaffection with the Democratic Party among progressives.
A recently released CNN poll found 76% of Americans saying they’re “seriously concerned” that Biden’s age of 80 may negatively impact his ability to serve a full second term as president.