Home Election 2020 OPINION: Can Cory Booker compare himself to former President Obama?

OPINION: Can Cory Booker compare himself to former President Obama?

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Cory Booker official Senate photo.

Opinion writer Maddie Kramer notes that while Cory Booker seeks to cast himself as Obama 2.0, there are many key differences between the two politicians.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker joined the currently eight other Democrats in running for president in 2020 at the beginning of this month. Running with the slogan “We Rise,” it seems that Booker may be trying to remind Democrat voters of former president Barack Obama, whose slogan during his first run was “Yes We Can.”

But can Cory Booker actually be compared to 2008 Barack Obama?

After attending Yale Law School, Booker began his political career in Newark, N.J as a city councilman and later served as the mayor. As mayor, Booker focused on local schools, and managed to secure a donation from Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for $100 million.

Booker also worked to solve Newark’s budget difficulties by cutting his personal salary twice and cut the salaries of city managers by two percent, making it possible to raise the wages of lower earning city workers. Following his second mayoral term, Booker decided to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Prior to also running for a U.S. Senate position, political hopeful Barack Obama attended Harvard Law school and worked on various grassroot campaigns focused on getting Chicago minorities to vote.

As an Illinois state senator, Obama’s time was spent writing and advocating for legislation regarding children, the elderly, labor unions, and those living below the poverty line. Obama soon became an upstart, eyeing a U.S. House seat in 2000 and later winning a U.S. Senate seat in 2004.

And the rest is history, as Obama went on to become the first African-American president of the United States.

Booker’s Senate career is much different from Obama’s; Booker sits on the Judiciary Committee, whereas Obama was known for creating legislation. Booker has been a known critic of the Trump administration. He has questioned the likes of Jeff Sessions when nominated for Attorney General, and new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Booker’s critics feel that he may have not done as much as he could as Newark mayor and are skeptical of some campaign donations in the past. Booker announced in 2018 he would no longer accept corporate PAC campaign donations and has promised to not accept any super PAC money for his presidential campaign.

However, a San Francisco democratic activist and civil rights lawyer established a super PAC of up to $10 million in December 2018 for Booker’s run. Booker’s spokesman Jeff Giertz stated in December that at the time the campaign had not “organized or endorsed the creation of a super PAC.”

Uncoincidentally, Booker announced his presidential bid on the first day of Black History Month. This sets a tone for the campaign, and it may be another way to align himself in the minds of voters with former President Obama.

The Democratic primary is getting crowded, as candidates may continue to announce into late March. The current field of candidates is the most diverse a presidential election has ever seen.


Madeline Kramer is a sophomore studying political science at Ohio University. The views and opinions of opinion writers are not the views of The New Political.

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