Editor's Note: Booker dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 13., 2020.
When Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) not hanging out with his girlfriend Rosario Dawson, he’s focused on becoming the 46th US president.
He puts the ‘book’ in Booker. He attended Stanford for undergrad, Yale for law school, and was a Rhodes Scholar in between. He was elected as Newark, NJ’s youngest city council member. And later became mayor. Though some would call him Supermayor after he saved a woman from a burning building. Yes, it’s true. He’s been in the Senate since 2013, where he’s become known for his work on criminal justice reform.
The Elephant in the Room
Some people have trouble deciding whether they think Booker is authentic and genuine. His public “I am Spartacus” outcry during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings raised some eyebrows. So did news that he wouldn’t accept corporate PAC contributions after getting a record amount of Wall Street campaign dollars in the past. With that, don’t be surprised if he’s called out for his ties to corporations within the finance and pharma industries. Or for his not-so-blue stance on charter schools and school choice.
The 2020 Policies
On criminal justice reform…he’s in favor of expunging federal marijuana convictions, as well as legalizing weed. He also wants to end discrimination against convicts in the workplace through the hiring process and provide better treatment for women behind bars (think: better trauma care, helping them reintegrate into communities).
On economic inequality…two words: “baby bonds.” That’s his idea to give US-born children a set amount of money every year until they turn 18 (the amount of money changes depending on family income). Then they can use the money, but only for things like buying a house or paying college tuition. He also announced a tax credits plan that would benefit over 150 million Americans, including low-income workers.
On abortion…he believes women have the right to choose, and has called this year’s abortion laws “an attack on all of our rights.” Booker wants to open a WH “Office of Reproductive Freedom” – which would coordinate reproductive health issues across federal agencies (think: abortion, paid leave, maternal health care). He also wants to expand abortion access and codify Roe v Wade into federal law.
On climate change…or as he calls it, “environmental justice.” His plan is to add more staff to the Environmental Protection Agency, charge companies for their pollution levels, and ensure safe drinking water. He’s also on board with the Green New Deal.
On guns…he wants to fight the gun violence “epidemic” in America with things like universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and a licensing program for all gun owners.
On education…yes to universal access to preschool and simplifying the process for applying for student loan process. In the past, he’s been a fan of school choice programs – like supporting private school vouchers and charter schools – but he hasn’t said much on that since joining the race.
Booker is one of three African Americans running for 2020. He’s hoping that his record on issues like criminal justice could help him get the votes he needs to become Mr. President. But his corporate ties and authenticity problem – plus low poll standings – could stand in his way.