[THE THIRD WAY] Cory Booker for President?


Submitted Photo: Kieran Singh

Columnist Kieran Singh recently watched New Jersey Senator Cory Booker deliver a speech.

Kieran Singh, Columnist

I recently saw Cory Booker speak. I never diverted my attention during that hour-long speech: I was captivated the whole time. That’s a lot to say for someone like me — normally I would look at my phone or talk to someone at least once during performances or speeches of that length. I’ve seen many politicians speak, but before then I had never seen a speech that made me feel like I was the only one in the room — like he was talking to me.

Cory Booker entered politics after winning the 1998 election for the Newark Municipal Council. Few were expecting the victory, but his charisma and passion for the city brought him out of obscurity and later into the mayorship. Booker’s term as mayor was a success, but he proved restless and ambitious, scrambling at the next chance to win higher office. He was elected to serve in the Senate in 2013 and has been a national figure ever since.

After his speech, it dawned on me that he’s been practicing — that he’s developing himself into a presidential candidate.  At this point I can tell that he’s polished and prepared enough to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 election, but, as we’ve learned, we need more than polished and prepared.

 At this point I can tell that he’s polished and prepared enough to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 election”

Still, I’m firmly convinced that he has that other factor, the type of charisma that has no name, drawing in anybody that listens, regardless of political affiliation. He’s also a compelling candidate independent of Donald Trump. Trump is historically unpopular, but with an economy like this and continuing apathy, hate for a sitting president is not enough to drive people to vote.  With his own platform, Booker runs not on Russia or scandal, but on optimism and policy. This type of campaigning is an antidote to the (partially true) stereotype on the right that the left and center only care about impeaching Donald Trump.

Before seeing Booker speak, I was handed a flyer by someone who I assume is a far-left independent. The headline read “Cory Booker: No Friend of Education.” I crumpled it up before I could read any of the text, but I understood the conflict. Cory Booker represents the “third way wing” of the Democratic party, much like President Bill Clinton or Senator Claire McCaskill.

Now, if you couldn’t tell, the title of this column is “The Third Way,” so this is far from a problem for me. But regardless of my viewpoint, if Booker wants to win the Democratic nomination, he has to move left for sheer electoral viability. If he wins, though, his moderate optimism would be one of the only ideas that could beat Donald Trump in a good economy.