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Foresight 2020: Senator Cory Booker

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks during the first night of the Democratic presidential debate in Miami.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks during the first night of the Democratic presidential debate in Miami.

Sen. Cory Booker is running for president. Here is what it’s like to walk around with him in Newark, New Jersey, according to a recent Politico profile,

It was tough to interview Booker on the streets of Newark, because every five minutes or so he had to shout to a well-wisher. And every two minutes or so he would get approached by a former inmate who needed help with housing, or a local activist upset about outdated water pipes, or, more often, a supporter who wanted him to take the fight to Trump in 2020. Booker bantered with everyone, giving hugs and taking photos—“My selfie game is tight!”—often offering his cellphone number to constituents with concerns. He clearly wanted me to see that he’s no longer thought of as an interloper, and it really was striking how happy people seemed to see him.

Current Newark Mayor Ras Baraka described Booker’s work in the city in the same piece.

“Cory introduced Newark to the world, and helped people see what it could be,” Baraka says. “He took the ball to the 30-yard line. Now we’re carrying it home.”

Booker is not the only mayor in the race and not even the only Rhodes scholar. But he’s the only candidate who lives in public housing (as far as we know). He’s vegan. The question of whether Booker is “too nice” was debated in the pages of The New York Times. He’s also polling at about 1.6 percent nationwide, per a RealClearPolitics average.

FiveThirtyEight’s Perry Bacon Jr. summarized his chances this way:

I can see Booker winning the nomination and becoming president, but I can also see him not winning a single primary. He has very broad potential appeal, but he may not have a solid core constituency, which is a major problem in a field that could include more than 20 candidates.

We talk to Booker about all that and more.

Produced by Stacia Brown and Lindsay Foster Thomas.


Sen. Cory Booker, U.S. senator, New Jersey (D); former mayor of Newark

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