Democratic Candidates: Cory Booker

Part I: About Your Candidate: Personally and Politically:

During my initial readings about New Jersey’s Senator, Cory Booker, I already felt like he was a 2020 Presidential Candidate who inspired me to give them my support. His background and how he uses that to lead is heartening and exciting. Booker was born on April 27th 1969 to Cary & Carolyn, who were civil right activists as well as some the of first African-American executives at I.B.M.

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He was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Newark, New Jersey, Booker grew up in an American Episcopal Church, however currently he is a member of a Baptist Congregation and is known to reference his religious beliefs in speeches to this day. After his football success in high school, Booker left Newark to attend Stanford University, studying political science as well as getting a masters in sociology. While also at Stanford, he played varsity football also becoming the the class president as a senior. Graduating from Stanford, Booker thenn received the Rhode’s Scholarship to attend Oxford University and continued on to graduate from Yale law school in 1997. Booker’s experiences as well as his identity could help Booker reach Presidency. First, Booker’s appearance could be a major advantage in the polls, the Roper Center reported that 93% of African-Americans voted for Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential Election vs the 6% who voted for Obama’s opposer, Romney. African-Americans have been cheated out of representation in the government since the birth of our country, so more voters could come out to vote for someone who more closely represents them. He has faced discrimination from a young age, for example his parents were trying to buy a house in a good school district when they were refused for their skin color, and this discrimination can make him relatable among voters. As well as being African-American, Booker’s gender has been obviously historically the gender that is successful. This could hurt Booker’s chances with some Democratic voters who wish to be represented by a women, a problem he could maybe solve by having a women Vice-President. Lately in Politics the divide between Democrats and Republicans are becoming larger, especially when it comes to Religion. People see Republicans as leaders who follow the bible, while Democrats are treading away from following the Church as closely as the opposer. Booker is a different story in the Democratic party however, he states, “I don’t know how many speeches of mine you can listen to and not have me bring up faith”. Even though Religion is a personal matter, his beliefs could help or hurt Booker in the upcoming Presidential election. Democratic voters who did not identify with Christianity could steer away from Booker, as well as voters who are strongly Christian because of some of Booker’s social political stances(prolife, pro LGBTQ). However, if Booker could win the hearts of Christian Democrats, he may have a support of another subgroup of Democrats come primary time. At 49, Booker is not necessarily young enough to relate to young voters, however, according to civicyouth.org, “research certainly does not suggest that the candidate’s age is a leading factor.” So, even if age is a factor for votes, it is not one that would take Booker out of the race. I think one of the most important advantages Booker has going for him is that he is a hometown guy to Newark, “ I’ve stayed put in the neighborhood where I first got my start and will never forget the people that believed in me and gave me my first chance”. This could strike a cord with voters, to see a candidate who stayed in his hometown, to try to make it better. Loyalty is a trait people like to see in a leader.

Besides his demographics, Booker has other qualities that could make him a quality candidate for the 2020 election. After graduating from Yale, Booker joined the Newark City Council working on improving the life in people in Newark. Focusing on the poor housing as well as violence in the community. He also called for the transparency of City Council, but he was consistently outvoted by his peers on the council. From there, he left City Council to run for Mayor in Newark in 2002 against Sharpe James. James won the election receiving 53% votes to Booker’s 47%, but this did not discourage Booker from running again in 2006, in which he took the race. He continued to serve as Newark’s mayor until 2013, working to improve the City’s housing crisis as well as reducing crime rate, and then decided to run for the spot of New Jersey’s U.S. senator. Former Senator Frank Lautenberg passed away, opening up the seat in the Senate. Booker defeated Republican Steve Lonegan in 2013, making Cory Booker the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey. He won the seat in the Senate again in 2014, defeating republican Jeff Bell. During his time in the Senate, Booker was put on Hillary Clinton’s short list for possible Vice-President options, however he was not chosen. In 2019, Booker is still in the Senate and working on issues like America’s criminal justice system as well as expanding. As I look back to our last two Presidents, President Obama and President Trump, while they are nothing alike, both were elected to the presidency without a long political experience history. President Obama had a short amount of time in the Senate before declaring his candidacy for presidency, and President Trump was a business entrepreneur before becoming President of the United States. Another disadvantage of having a long Political History, is that there has been more time of scandals coming out, like with Hillary Clinton considering her husband’s affair as well as the email scandal, which was a factor in her losing voters. And while Booker is going to be competing against big names like Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, who have been in the game of politics longer than anyone else, if the trend of less is more, Booker could have an advantage against Biden and Sanders while still having quality experience working in the American Government.

Part II: Issues and Ideology:

From looking at Cory Booker’s campaign website he focuses on “In the Senate Cory’s fought for criminal justice reform, expanding economic opportunity, and equal justice”. However, when I look at what I think will be some of the most important topics in the 2020 election, I reflect on what has been the talk of the American News lately. From that, I can conclude that Immigration will be a large discussion between candidates because of the country’s urgency to find answers. Between the Democratic candidates, I think climate change will be a largely discussed issue. The pressing effects of climate change are very much real, and I genuinely think that voters want to see policy change to try to stop this radical change.

The economy is always an important topic in elections, and Booker has a strong stance of the economy “that values American workers and benefits everyone” and made raised taxes in Newark that improved the economy. However he has been criticized of having corporations interest, “He was pilloried by those groups(democrats) in 2017, for instance, after voting with Republicans against a symbolic amendment supporting pharmaceutical drug imports from Canada, which would lower the cost of some medicines”(William B.). Democrat voters may see that while he did improve the economy in Newark, that he does vote against his party in the interest of corporations and feel that he may turn his back on Democrats in other issues. Booker will also get credibility with democratic voters for his stance on the environment, on his Senate website he quotes, “Climate change is a pressing and serious environmental and economic crisis that threatens the way of life for our kids and grandkids,” He joined Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on introducing a New Green Deal solution. This solution, which was presented to The House and Senate would “would create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States, provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for Americans, support family farmers, and counteract systemic injustices – all while addressing the existential challenge of climate change.” Booker stepped up to the plate with trying to make new policy in our Congress that would address climate change, which will give him advantage against other Democrats who have talked the talked about the addressing climate change, but have not attempted to make any change. Another policy Booker supported was Bernie Sanders single-payer health insurance, “Booker, D-N.J., said he would co-sponsor Sanders’ “Medicare for All” legislation in which the government rather than private insurers would provide health coverage” (Salant). This is a popular belief among Democrats, and seeing Booker work with Sanders may give him some street cred among young voters. Booker beliefs that Healthcare is right that every American deserves, no matter a citizen’s economic status and that the government should be responsible for taking care of their citizens. Especially since President Trump was elected President, immigration has been a forefront topic on the news, a topic Booker takes a very democratic stand on. Because of the detainment of illegal dreamers, Booker led in proposing a bill, the Deganity for Detained Immigrants act that would, “…enable thousands more immigrants a month to seek release in the short term, and radically restrict detention capacity over the course of a few years”(Lind). Booker is also, according to ontheissues.org in support of the DACA initiative and dreamers, as well as voiced that he is welcome to accepting Syrian Refugees. This is another issue that Booker gets an advantage with Democratic voters because he reflects what the party believes and is taking initiative in his job now to try to make a difference. In regards to another issue in elections, income equality, Booker has also proposed a bill that would close the gap between the incomes of white and black middle class families. Sarah Kliff, a reporter from Vox writes, “His idea is to give lower-income kids a sizable nest egg (nearly $50,000 in some cases) that they could use for wealth-building purchases, like a down payment on a house or college tuition”. This is a more progressive idea in trying to combat income equality, one that will make him stand out from other Democratic candidates, which could give his an edge in the primaries.

Overall, Booker has created a name for himself in the Senate by proposing bills that would fix problems that voters, especially Democrats are worried about. However, because of his history of very liberal voting, he is the same on a lot of issues with other Democrats, making him be viewed as more of a centrist Democrat, despite some of his progressive beliefs including income equality and criminal justice reform. Due to the fact he has historically been more centrist, he could blend in with other Democrats, not giving him a chance to stand out to gain attention and have a chance of winning the election.

Part III: Polling:.

Cory Booker’s % of Approval in the Polls so far in the 2020 Presidential Election:

Date: 2019

% of Approval

January 1st

4.0

February 1st

3.7

March 1st

4.8

April 1st

3.6

May 1st

2.2

Statistics found at: “Election 2020 – 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination.” RealClearPolitics, www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/2020_democratic_presidential_nomination-6730.html.

As of May 1st, Booker has about a 2.2 % approval, putting him into 7th place, behind Beto O’Rourke. Booker for the most part has stayed consisted, right after he announced he was officially running for President, his numbers went up from about 4% to 6%, but then started to decline to about 3% when Joe Biden announced he was running for President. The gap between Booker and Biden, the leader, is fairly large, as of May 1st, Biden has about 32,8% approval, which is very large difference in these polls. I think Booker’s biggest challenge is that he is competing against big time names like former VP Joe Biden as well as Bernie Sanders, and he just does not have the same name recognition as these old timers.

Part IV: Fundraising

According to a New York Times article published on April 7th, Cory Booker had raised 5 million dollars so far for his campaign from, however he would not disclose how many people had donated and what amounts. This is interesting because, opensecerts.org writes that “He(Booker) joined with other Democrats and rejected corporate PAC money in February 2018. His campaign said they would not support super PACs spending money on his behalf, however the campaign cannot actually prevent outside groups from making independent expenditures”(Arke). Booker has taken money from PACS in the past, at one point in his political career, he was “…was one of the top recipients of campaign donations from Wall Street”, which is something other Democratic candidates could attack in the primaries. Booker is behind other democratic nominees in fundraising, the NY Times article also writes that Sanders has raised up to $18.2 million, while O’Rourke has raised $9.4 million. Since Booker’s campaigning started in 2013, his biggest donors have been lawyers/law firms, real estate, and securities and investment. This is a problem because these are Joe Biden’s top donors, which will cause in a divide in money. Also, because Booker has not been in the game as long as candidates like Sanders, he does not have as long as donor list, causing him to not raise as much money. But, because of his election being showcased in a Oscar nominated documentary, so he receives donations from TV/MOVIES/MUSIC, something that other dem candidates do not have.

Part V: The Vice-President

Beto O’Rourke is a candidate for presidency that the people really like. Even though he lost his election in Texas, he made it a very tight race for Ted Cruz. I think that Booker lacks that connection with the people, even though he is know to go out and shovel someone’s driveway after a snowstorm, critics from New Jersey have stated that while he was out in the streets helping, he should’ve been in the office organizing. Also, he can be very progressive left, on some issues and while O’Rourke is liberal, he is a little more centrist than Booker which could provide a good balance comforting voters. Booker would need bigs in the electoral college, and he could get the electoral college vote from Texas which would be a huge win for Booker. O’Rourke’s southern roots could attract voters since Booker is from New Jersey and has only experience in the east coast. If Booker would to lose the nomination, I think he would be an attractive VP to Joe Biden because he would bring the diversity and youth that Joe Biden needs to continue to get Democrats support and electoral votes. As mentioned before, the African-American vote was a huge help in Obama’s reelection, which could carry on to electing Biden if Booker was his VP. Booker could apply to modern voters, which Biden would need to secure winning the Presidency.

Part VI: Conclusion

Frankly, I do not think that Cory Booker has a very good chance of winning the Presidential Election, due to a few reasons. Booker’s view on his main issue of reforming the criminal justice system is very inspiring, however, that is not a topic that American voters have at the top of their list. Also, he is lacking the name recognition that is needed to win the Presidency, the recognition that Biden and Sanders has. And while Booker could win the majority of the African-American vote, he could also split votes with candidate Kamela Harris, something former President Obama did not have to worry about. Another fault of Booker has had some history of voting against Democrat issues, despite his usual very liberal views which would create him having a disadvantage with the loyal left. Loyal left also might not give Booker their vote in the primaries when it is pointed out that Booker used to receive a lot of money from PACS on Wall Street. However, Booker does have experience and life, and if he were to win the Iowa Cactus, the race might be closer than we thought. According to a Washington Monthly article, Booker has family in Iowa, which does not mean he will win, but could give him an edge. New Hampshire is geographically not far from New Jersey, so Booker could have his name established in that state which could also give him an edge in winning that state, giving him a lead early in the race.

If Booker were to pull an amazing upset, could he defeat President Trump? Hard to say, at first glance I would say no. Even though President Trump does what it seems like the public approval, still according to RealClear Politics, he still has a 43.2% approval rate. However, if Booker was elected I think the Democrats would do everything in their power to get Booker to win the candidacy. I think Booker could take the northeast regarding the electoral college, and even securing California’s, the largest electoral college number. But even then, I still think Booker would lost because Trump is such a household name and even though in my personal opinion he is awful, some people may like the familiarity of him vs the newness of Booker, especially in the swing states, where winning is vital. But, I would want Booker to prove me wrong.

Next spring in 2020, I assume that Biden will win the victory of the Democratic Party. I think Sander’s and O’Rourke will make the primary close, but America likes repeating history. Biden has an established relationship with the Democratic party, and since he was the VP under President Obama, his name is known with the American people and he will most likely get President Obama’s endorsement. VP’s tend to get re elected and he is doing very well in current polling. I also think the reason he will get to be our Democratic candidate is because he is probably the person most likely to defeat Trump. He has just as much name recognition as Trump, and I think people find Biden more respectable than Trump. Biden has liabilities, like his age and his known creepiness, recently Trump has name Biden, “Sleepy Joe”, but Trump also has liabilities, so I think these disadvantages will not be as big as an issue since he is running against President Trump. So I am calling it now, even if it does not necessarily who I think should win the Democratic Nomination, Joe Biden will the Democratic Primary Spring 2020.

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