Cory Booker hopes to sprint to the finish
New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker isn’t doing that well in the polls now, but we know voters in Iowa and New Hampshire famously wait until the last couple of weeks to make up their minds.
Senator Cory Booker has a lot of ground that he needs to make up in the next few weeks. The Junior Senator from New Jersey is running for President, but his campaign is struggling. He even failed to meet the Democratic National Committee’s criteria to be in last Thursday’s Democratic Presidential Debate A recent Monmouth University Poll has him polling at only 2% in Iowa behind former tech executive Andrew Yang. This is despite Sen. Booker having an impressive campaign infrastructure in the State.
With an angry Democratic base, Cory Booker’s message of love does not appear to be getting much traction. It is the received wisdom that they are looking for a fighter to take on the notoriously combative President Trump. Joe Biden who recently challenged a voter who questioned his integrity to a push-up contest would be a better fit for that bill.
In another way, it is surprising that Sen. Booker’s campaign has failed to take off especially given his political career started with such a bang. His first run for office where he took on a corrupt and entrenched Mayor of Newark was turned into the documentary “Street Fight”. He lost that race, but the film was nominated for an Oscar. He would go to win the Mayoralty of Newark in 2006.
He brought large-scale investment into the traditionally deprived city which he still calls home. He was able to reach across the political divide and working with Republican Governor Chris Christie managed to convince Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to invest $100 million into the Newark school system. To top it off, the investment was announced on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” with Oprah interviewing all three of Booker, Christie and Zuckerberg. With the current controversy surrounding Facebook and so-called fake news this might turn out to be a double-edged sword for the Senator.
The Rhodes scholar wooed business to Newark leading to revitalisation of his city with new jobs and new buildings. Not everything was a triumph but given the mess he inherited a fair assessment of his record as Mayor will show that whilst Cory Booker was not able to fully transform Newark into a model city, an impossible job, he did leave it in much better shape than when he took charge.
Cory Booker was elected to the United States Senate in late 2013 in a special election. Senator Booker is one of only three black senators, the others being Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Senator Kamala Harris of California. Sen. Booker is the only African-American candidate in the Democratic field. One of the key reasons behind Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016 was that 11% of black Obama voters stayed home instead of turning out to the polls for the former First Lady.
Despite running for President recent Monmouth University polling has shown that he has maintained his popularity in his home State, although less positive for the Newark resident is that the same polling shows New Jersey voters think he would make a better Vice-Presidential candidate than Presidential candidate.
Given that then Senator Joe Biden polled just under 1% in the 2008 Iowa caucuses; Senator Booker is actually doing better than he needs to be selected as the second person on the 2020 Democratic ticket. Although Sen. Booker is playing to win, the entry of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg into the race bodes well for his chances of becoming the VP nominee. Sen. Booker has a history of working well with Mayor Bloomberg and even previously served on the Board of Directors for the Bloomberg Family Foundation.
However, Cory Booker still has his eyes set on the White House and not the Naval Observatory, the residence of the Vice-President. He is hoping that he can close the race with a last-minute sprint to the finish in Iowa. It is certainly not impossible. A last minute surge gave then Senator John Kerry a come from behind victory in Iowa in 2004. He used the momentum from that victory to go on win the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination before losing to President George W. Bush that November.
Even if Senator Booker fails to win his party’s nomination this year, it shouldn’t be the end of his Presidential hopes. He is still young at 50 and with the three leading Democrats in the polls being in their 70’s; he has time on his side.
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