Cory Booker essentially runs on what most today cite as a typical liberal platform. He supports an increased minimum wage, defends the right of same-sex marriage, believes in man-made climate change, favors criminal justice reform, and opposes overturning Roe v. Wade.
All these positions, among others, are the bare minimum that the primary Democratic voter base expects out of a candidate. Yet, Booker’s inability to explicitly take a side on hot button social issues is of concern, as he seems to have fumbled the ball on a few recent race-related incidents, including the photos in Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook displaying blackface and a Ku Klux Klan costume. On this issue, Booker said it was important to “put yourself in a white person’s position,” to create a better dialogue around race.
While Booker’s voting record and political platform is more or less solid for his targeted demographic, his reluctance to openly condemn something as heinous as the KKK begs the question: will be able to make tough, partisan decisions on a grand scale, or if he will too easily give in to pressure to appease the other side? It will be interesting to see if Booker’s milquetoast statements will help him among centrists or hurt him among leftists in the Democratic primary.
Conservative – Mark Pothen
Cory Booker’s record consists of his tenure as mayor of Newark, which he spent sensationalizing himself through publicity stunts, such as living on food stamps for a week and shoveling constituents’ streets, rather than being effective, with the crime rate remaining stagnant and spending 21% of his time out of state.
Within the Senate, his perpetual need to virtue signal did not improve his record. In the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings, after castigating everyone who supported then-Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh as “complicit in evil,”, he ridiculously likened himself to Spartacus for releasing documents that had been previously declassified.
Booker has now become an exemplar of democratic radicalism by openly calling for the implementation of policies such as the Green New Deal and “Medicare for all,”, the latter of which would cost 32.6 trillion dollars over the next 10 years and decimate private insurance, and the former being fully delusional with full government control over all industries and the expectation to squash 89% of American energy production. The man simply has the charisma and political savviness of a slab of granite. He’ll get my vote when pigs fly.
Independent – Parth Agrawal
It’s hard not to root for Cory Booker, the senator from my home state, former mayor of my college city, and a person of color, as “the home team”. Running on a message of optimism and love, he seems to appeal to the citizens of a country tired of stalemates, anger, and hate.
As mayor of Newark and the junior Senator of New Jersey, he was instrumental in securing countless new public and private investments in Brick City. But Booker is perhaps known more for the public persona of being a “people person”, an image he has spent years crafting. He lived for eight years in a housing project, shoveled snow from residents’ driveways, and befriended an imaginary drug dealer named T-Bone. Perhaps it makes sense that Booker, with degrees from Oxford, Yale, and Stanford, should try to offset his “outsider” status by demonstrating a direct connection with Newark citizens.
Yet stunts like his dramatic and embarrassing attempt to “break protocol” during the Kavanaugh investigation call for a more critical look at his motivations and authenticity. Booker has spent a considerable amount of time outside the New York metropolitan area and has been criticized by state officials for not being around often enough to manage daily affairs. If we are to learn anything from dealing with our current president, we ought to ensure that 2020’s winner brings more to the table than theatrics.