Cory Booker brought a mix of eloquence and organizational experience in the streets to a candidacy that made comparisons with those of Barack Obama, but none of the qualities could take him to the highest level of the Democratic presidential race. Without cash and unsuccessful polls, Booker finished its White House offer on Monday.
“With all my heart I share this news: I am suspending my campaign for president,” Booker tweeted. “To my team, followers and everyone who gave me a chance, thanks. I am very proud of what we build, and I feel nothing but faith in what we can achieve together. “
The departure of the race by another prominent black legislator leaves what was once a historically diverse Democratic camp of increasingly white and old presidential candidates. The remaining minority candidates in the race, only one of whom is African American, face single-digit voting numbers with little time to leave the package before voting begins early next month.
That reality has caused discomfort and a conscientious examination among party activists at a time when racial justice is fundamental to the Democratic agenda and inspires minority voters crucial to their hopes of retaking the White House. Three out of four of the top-level candidates who dominate the race are now 70 years old. However, they have obtained significant minority support, especially former Vice President Joe Biden.
Although Booker received praise for his oratory skills and political acumen, his kind of policy, which combined progressive policies with frequent calls to unity, seemed not to coincide with the moods of liberals or moderates.
The theme of Booker’s universal love campaign, a promise to transcend discouraging partisan politics and the tough tone of the Trump era, did not catch fire with voters on the left who flocked to Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who promise a fight. The centrist voters have moved to Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who offer more moderate policies and may seem less risky to some voters who fear that a black candidate will lose to President Trump.
Biden’s strong support among black voters, especially older voters, also proved to be a significant obstacle for Booker.
Booker brought to the race a legendary biography as the mayor of Newark, NJ, who settled in the city’s housing projects and shot down a corrupt administration on his way to City Hall, a search captured in critically acclaimed documentary. ” Street Fight. ” “
But in the current campaign, Booker’s life story competed with that of another black candidate in the race, California Senator Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica who hoped to become the first president of black women.
The New Jersey senator was the victim of some of the same strategic miscalculations as Harris, who left the race in early December.
Both had their background and credentials in campaigns for racial justice to demonstrate great appeal to minority voters in key states that vote early in primary school, particularly black voters in South Carolina. But they found themselves unable to dismantle the tough coalition that supports Biden. A recently published Washington Post-Ipsos poll found that Booker was the first option for only 4% of black Democrats across the country, while 48% named Biden as their first choice.
Booker’s unequal record in progressive issues, which tried to make a point of sale, as a post-partisan candidate without ideological obstacles, proved to be a responsibility in this race. In a Democratic electorate that has been increasingly divided between progressives and moderates, it was never clear exactly where Booker fits.
“He has had difficulty summarizing his campaign succinctly to give him some influence in a career in which there are so many candidates,” said Dante Scala, a professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, in an interview late last year. Scala said Buttigieg had largely usurped the mantle of the candidate who offered something new and “is now more of a true stranger than Booker.” Maybe years ago, coming as mayor of Newark, it would have been different. “
Booker’s embrace of charter schools while the mayor of Newark undermined his efforts to build support among teachers in Iowa and New Hampshire, an influential bloc in Democratic primary. His previous alliance with Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, who funded an important educational initiative in Newark, also came into conflict with the party’s most critical attitude towards large technology companies.
An unauthorized super PAC led by a former classmate at Stanford University did not help Booker’s reformist cause. The group sought to raise money for Booker’s presidential offer even when the candidate promised not to accept that kind of money. In the end, the super PAC did not raise enough money to help him a lot. It closed in November.
Booker’s departure creates an adjustment of accounts for the Democratic Party. After Harris retired, he said there were more billionaires than black candidates in the presidential race. On the stage of the debate, Booker emerged as a provocative voice on issues of racial justice, questioning whether white candidates with ambitious plans on racial issues have shown a commitment to combat inequality that matches their discussion points.
“The reality is that our main process privileges white men over everyone else, at the expense of the party base,” said a statement from Steve Phillips, founder of the Democracy in Color defense group, who created the super PAC to support Booker.
Booker ridiculed Biden in a debate over his role, as a senator, in promoting mass incarceration during the Clinton era. In another, he confronted Biden for covering the legalization of marijuana, strongly lamenting how inequality in the prosecution of marijuana has destroyed black lives.
The only black candidate who is still in the race is the former Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick, who entered the race late, shows close to zero support in the polls and seems unlikely to qualify for Democratic debates.
The lack of racial diversity in the countryside comes at a time when Democratic Party leaders are desperate to energize minority voters. If black voters had turned out in 2016 at the rate they had when Obama was on the ballot, the Democrats probably wouldn’t have lost the White House.
After Harris left the race on December 3, Booker warned that the shortage of non-white faces on the stage of the debate could condemn the Democratic efforts to stimulate a large minority stake next fall. The warnings brought a wave of donor support, his assistants said at the time. But it was not obvious and his campaign remained with life support.
By Monday, with an exhausted war chest and no clear path to victory, Booker retired.