Cornel West leads liberal search for Obama challenger

theGRIO REPORT - Dr. Cornel West has teamed with consumer advocate Ralph Nader to bring progressive ideals to the forefront with a challenger to face Obama...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Syene Jasmin, an African-American 22-year-old customer service agent, wants to see a viable liberal candidate to challenge Obama.

“Obama has not delivered and from the beginning there could have been a more aggressive campaign for jobs,” Jasmin said in an interview with theGrio.

Jasmin has a job, but many of his friends and family do not.

“In this economy, if you’re not in the sciences or medical field, then things are tough…I don’t think there’s a middle class anymore.”

That’s why Syene joined the grassroots online community known as the New Progressive Alliance (NPA) in their effort to name a candidate as a primary challenger to President Obama.

“President Obama has to be accountable to his base. The progressive party got him elected,” said the Brooklyn native. Jasmin once supported Obama and volunteered as a deputy field organizer during Obama’s presidential campaign in North Carolina and South Carolina.

But, Jasmin, a registered Democrat has moved on. To him, the liberal agenda just makes more sense.

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The NPA expects a nominee to fully support the organization’s comprehensive progressive platform ratified in August. Platform tenets include full employment at a living wage, environmental sustainability, social welfare and fair trade.

And while the NPA is trying to make headway, one of its members is also rallying for a similar cause.

Dr. Cornel West has teamed with consumer advocate Ralph Nader to bring progressive ideals to the forefront with a challenger to face Obama.

The Washington Post recently reported that West and Nader are leading a group of liberals and academics, seeking candidates to debate Obama on key issues.

Though Dr. West is on the steering committee of the NPA, the alliance’s facilitator Anthony Noel does not view his collaboration with Nader as any sort of threat.

“He should be doing whatever he needs to do to change things,” said Noel, 52, of West.

It’s the infighting within the liberal camp that Noel seeks to avoid, but the additional voices to the American political conversation are more than welcome.

“What needs to happen is just a broader awakening. This two party system is not allowing us to look at new things,” Noel continued.

At this time, the NPA has not endorsed the West-Nader collaboration. Noel said he knew of Nader’s intentions for an Obama challenger, but he was not aware that West was also involved with Nader.

“I first heard about it two months ago,” Noel said. Noel also went on the praise West’s recent work with Tavis Smiley and the “Poverty Tour”, commenting on the tour’s lack of mainstream media coverage.

Yet, the question remains, who will confidently face Obama in the primaries along a progressive agenda? So far, most of the NPA’s 10 potential nominees have not responded. In an interview with theGrio, Noel, said that at least three attempts were made to contact attorney Elizabeth Warren and former Wisconsin senator, Russ Feingold in regards to facing Obama in the primaries.

Noel says that he knows it will be difficult to find someone to accept a nomination from the NPA. But he still hopes to inspire a second progressive era in the United States.

“Obama has sold out to corporate interests,” he said.

Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continue to garner support for a 2012 presidential bid. Though Sanders has not expressed interest in running, more than 1,100 people have reportedly signed a Sanders for President draft, according to the group’s Facebook page.

But for now, Jasmin will continue to work with the NPA and he hopes to get more African- Americans on board, though he admits this will be a daunting challenge.

“The African-American relationship with President Obama is so complex that many will be unwilling to go against him,” he says. “We love him as a people. I still do, but I can’t let love blind my conscious as well.”