Booker is running a campaign focused on love, unity and identity. He first gained national recognition as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, at times answering pleas to shovel residents out after major snowstorms. He was elected to the US Senate in a 2013 special election.
Stanford University, B.A., 1991; Stanford University, M.A, 1992; University of Oxford, Rhodes scholar, 1994; Yale Law School, J.D., 1997
April 27, 1969
Mayor of Newark, 2006-2013; Partner at the law firm Booker, Rabinowitz, Trenk, Lubetkin, Tully, DiPasquale and Webster, 2002-2006; Newark City Council member, 1998-2002; Staff attorney at the Urban Justice Center, 1997
Cory Booker was asked who broke his heart. He gave an emotional response
Updated 3:40 PM ET, Mon Jan 20, 2020
It was the final question during Sen. Cory Booker's interview with The New York Times editorial board: Who has broken his heart? In response, Booker delivered an emotional answer about the pain of witnessing the deaths of young black men. "Look, I have this firm belief that if America hasn't broken your heart, you don't love her enough," he said. "And living in Newark for the last 20 years, I mean, I've been broken, shattered, have moments where I wanted to give up. And a lot of them have just involved the deaths of the ones I remember most, the ones that still hurt me, that reflect on the deaths of young black men." The New Jersey Democrat made the comments during a December interview with the Times that took place before he ended his 2020 presidential campaign. The publication said they decided to release the interview "because we thought, after the interview, that Senator Booker was an important voice in the race that had gotten lost on the debate stage." Booker, whose campaign focused on changing the criminal justice system and ending gun violence, shared a story he often tells about Hassan Washington, a teenager who was shot and killed. He reflected on how Washington reminded him of his father, Cary Booker, and how he tried to mentor him and other young boys. He also opened up about the moment he learned the teenager was dead.
"But I get home that night to steal a couple of hours of sleep and read through my BlackBerry and I will never forget that moment of being broken because the name on the BlackBerry of the kid that was murdered was Hassan Washington," he said. "And the shame -- I felt that God put him right in front of me, that my dad lived because a community on multiple points in his life would not let him fail." "It was packed at Perry's Funeral Home in the basement and to me it felt like the bowels of a slave ship because we were piled on top of each other, chained together in grief, moaning and crying and wailing at what is a everyday reality in America is another boy in a box." He continued: "And I ran away from his funeral. I didn't even stay. And I ran back to a new mayor's office and I sat on that couch and I wept because we were all there for his death, but we weren't there for his life." Booker added that there are too many children in the country with the "cards stacked against them," and said America hasn't yet lived up to its promises. "And so I fight and I don't care what title I have or what office I hold. I will try to honor the love that my father received by living a life of love like that," Booker said.
Booker in September 2019 unveiled a $3 trillion plan for combating the climate crisis that promises to invest in clean energy, phase out the use of fossil fuels and create a carbon-neutral economy by 2045. The plan would require fossil fuel producers to pay a carbon fee on coal, natural gas and oil production and would end tax subsidies to those industries. Booker would create a “progressive climate dividend” paid to Americans through the carbon fees on fossil fuel producers. He also would take executive action to reverse many of Trump’s actions undoing Obama-era environmental initiatives. During the first Democratic primary debate, in June 2019, Booker cited climate change as one of the biggest threats facing the US. He supports the Green New Deal and has pushed back against critics of the plan who have called it impractical. “If we used to govern our dreams that way, we would have never gone to the moon,” Booker has said on the campaign trail. He has said he would keep the US in the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. More on Booker’s climate crisis policy
Booker has been known in the past as business-friendly, accepting $100 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for schools in Newark during his tenure as mayor. As a presidential candidate, Booker has called for more robust enforcement of antitrust laws, citing a “serious problem [in our country] with corporate consolidation.” During the first presidential debate, Booker said he would target companies like Amazon that pay low federal taxes or none at all. The senator has also discussed rolling back the 2017 Trump tax cuts. According to his campaign, Booker has stood by his opposition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation deal negotiated under Obama that Trump withdrew from in one of his first acts as President. He has opposed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – the successor deal to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiated by Trump – as it is written. More on Booker’s economic policy
Booker has proposed federally mandated gun licenses, modeled after driver’s licenses. “If you need a license to drive a car,” he has said, “you need a license to own a gun.” His plan would also expand background checks and fund programs for communities beset by gun violence. It would ban so-called assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks. He has proposed regulation and oversight of gun manufacturers. He would also close the “boyfriend loophole,” preventing people who abused dating partners from buying or owning firearms. More on Booker’s gun violence policy
Booker has co-sponsored Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal, legislation that would create a government-run health care plan and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry. Still, he is in favor of keeping private insurance plans. When asked in February 2019 if he would do away with private health care, he said, “Even countries that have vast access to publicly offered health care still have private health care, so no.” He is a co-sponsor of Medicare-X, which would let individuals and small businesses buy government-backed insurance policies, known as a public option, on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Additionally, he supports lowering the Medicare age to 50. Booker has pledged to work to drive down the price of prescription drugs, including co-sponsoring a measure that would annually review whether brand-name drugs are excessively priced relative to those in other countries. He has also come out in favor of importing drugs from Canada and other developed nations. More on Booker’s health care policy
Booker has proposed a range of executive actions to immediately roll back Trump’s immigration policies, including ending immigrant detention and family separations, and decriminalizing crossing the border without documentation. He would expand Obama-era protections for some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and those who are parents of American citizens. He ridiculed Trump’s national emergency declaration on the border wall, and voted against a spending bill – which ultimately passed and was signed into law – that provided $1.357 billion for 55 miles of new barriers. Booker has also endorsed accepting a minimum of 110,000 refugees annually, a significant increase over the historically low levels of resettlement during the Trump administration. More on Booker’s immigration policy
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Boom and bust: Economy and impeachment capture the forces that will determine Trump's fate
Updated 6:01 AM ET, Tue Jan 21, 2020
The House officially delivered to the Senate two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump last week on the same day that the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished above 29,000 points for the first time. That striking juxtaposition encapsulates the contending forces shaping the presidential race: pervasive doubts about Trump's values and behavior vs. widespread economic satisfaction. The new stock market high symbolizes an economy that has produced steady gains in gross domestic product, improving wages and the lowest unemployment rate in decades, not only for the nation overall but also for groups often marginalized in the workforce, including African Americans and Hispanics. The start of only the third Senate presidential impeachment trial, in turn, epitomizes Trump's volatile and disruptive behavior in office, in which he has shattered norms and customs and perhaps violated the law. The pivotal question of 2020 may be whether the economy lifts Trump just enough to survive the concerns about his conduct and character, or the personal doubts that he's generated deny him just enough credit for the economy to allow the eventual Democratic nominee to prevail. "It is going to be a battle between whether the economy is good enough to allow Trump to survive everything else," says Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz. Since the Ukraine scandal broke last September, public opinion over Trump has unfolded as a kind of standoff. While many Democrats have expressed disappointment that the cascading revelations about the President's pressure campaign on Ukraine have not materially lowered his approval rating, many independent analysts have been equally struck that growing satisfaction with the economy has not lifted Trump's national standing much, or at all, depending on the survey. Polls leave little doubt that Trump is benefiting less from good economic news than his predecessors. Through the last decades of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st, polls "absolutely" showed a clear relationship between economic satisfaction measured in surveys such as the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment and public approval of the incumbent president, said John Sides, a Vanderbilt University political scientist. "From the beginning of the [University of Michigan] survey through the administration of President George W. Bush, there was a fairly straightforward relationship: Higher scores on this index equal better approval ratings," Sides wrote recently in The Washington Post. That relationship began to fray under President Barack Obama. Most experts attributed the change to the nation's increasing political polarization: Polls show that Republicans and Democrats are now more likely to view the economy positively when their party controls the White House. That meant Obama didn't benefit as much as many scholars expected when the economy slowly recovered after the crash of 2008. But Trump, as with many things, has pushed this dynamic to a new peak. Polls capture an unmistakable improvement in voter attitudes about the economy, but those same surveys show that Trump's standing is much weaker than that of any of his recent predecessors among the voters who express such economic contentment. Feeling good about the economy, but less so about Trump The University of Michigan's venerable Index of Consumer Sentiment has briskly marched upward over the past year: It stood at 99.1 this month, up from 91.2 in January 2019. Recent national polls by CNN and Quinnipiac University found that about three-fourths of Americans now call the economy excellent or good, also up substantially since last January. In Quinnipiac's polling, the share of Americans who give Trump positive marks for managing the economy spiked from 46% in August to 57% in December. But Trump's overall approval rating among voters happy with the economy conspicuously lags his predecessors'. Among voters who described themselves as satisfied with the economy, Bush's approval rating stood at 71% in a 2006 NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll, according to figures provided by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican firm that co-manages the survey. In 2013 and 2015, Obama similarly received a positive approval rating in the poll from 75% of Americans who described themselves as economically satisfied. By contrast, in the December national CNN/SSRS survey, Trump's approval rating among Americans who described the economy as excellent or good stood at just 52%, with 43% disapproving, according to detailed results provided by CNN Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta. A survey released last week by the nonpartisan polling firm EPIC-MRA in the pivotal swing state of Michigan likewise found that among the majority of respondents who called the state's economy excellent or good, just 53% approved of Trump's overall performance, while 45% disapproved, according to figures provided by the pollster. The result of this resistance is that despite the spike in positive attitudes about the economy, Trump's overall approval rating has increased by only about 1 percentage point over the past year in the cumulative index maintained by fivethirtyeight.com. He's gained more ground in the CNN/SSRS poll over the past year, though he remains in a tenuous position: The latest CNN/SSRS poll, released Monday, put Trump's approval rating at 43%, up from his 37% showing in the first survey of 2019. It is a president's overall approval rating that best predicts his reelection prospects, political scientists such as Abramowitz generally agree. Polls testing attitudes about possible 2020 matchups for Trump show a similar departure from previous presidents. Exit polls found in 2004 and 2012 that Bush and Obama, as the incumbents, each won about 90% of voters who described the economy as excellent or good. But Trump drew just 55% of voters who expressed such economic satisfaction when matched against former Vice President Joe Biden in the latest national CNN poll; Biden held an 80-point lead among the minority of voters who called the economy only fair or poor, enough to top Trump overall. The EPIC-MRA Michigan survey produced the same pattern: Trump led Biden among voters positive on the economy by only 53% to 43%, while Biden led by more than 30 points among those who called the economy only fair or poor, enough for a 6-point overall lead in the crucial state. "What the polling shows is that Trump hasn't gotten people to evaluate him primarily in terms of the performance of the economy," said Sides, co-author of the 2018 book "Identity Crisis," which analyzed Trump's 2016 victory. "They are just not. There are other dimensions that are dragging him down. It's some combination of the other issues he wants to talk about, where his positions aren't as popular, or it's his personality and his personal reputation, his behavior, that continually detracts." Repelling those his policies have helped Part of the problem Trump faces is that his language and agenda, particularly on issues that touch on race or culture, and his unpredictable and belligerent style as President especially grate on many of the voters who are benefiting most from this economy: whites holding at least a four-year college degree. In the Michigan poll, for instance, while 67% of college-educated white women described the state of the economy as excellent or good, just 37% approved of Trump's job performance. (Among college white men there, the numbers were 71 and 49.) "His overall leadership style is repugnant for those who most benefit from this economy, and that is the more affluent," says longtime Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg. Another problem for Trump is that he's not inclined to center his message on the good economic news. Rather, his bent is to angrily portray his coalition as under siege by forces -- ranging from immigrants and minorities to disdainful coastal and media elites -- that only he can protect them from. "He is really comfortable with his 'American carnage'-type rhetoric," notes Sides, referring to the striking phrase Trump used in his 2016 convention acceptance speech. "And finding a way to pivot to a campaign whose tenor is fundamentally optimistic and is not predicated on fear ... and anxiety, whether it's coming from immigrants or China or Democrats, to me that's just not Trump's natural way of communicating or existing in the world. Contrast that with Ronald Reagan, who was maybe optimistic to a fault." The conundrum confronting Trump is that the more he uses that polarizing and racially combustible rhetoric to energize his base, the more he reminds many of the swing voters who are thriving economically exactly what they don't like about him. As I've written before, Trump may be trapped on a kind of treadmill, where he has already alienated so many voters satisfied with the economy that he has no choice but to center his efforts on maximizing turnout among his base, even though the tactics he employs to do that deepen his problems with the swing voters. The impeachment inquiry threatens to reinforce -- or even compound -- Trump's problems with economically satisfied white-collar voters, because it is highlighting many of the aspects of his presidency that most concern them, including questions about his ability to manage foreign policy, his respect for the rule of law and doubts about his honesty. In Quinnipiac polling last spring, a third of voters who approved of Trump's economic performance still said he was not honest, and one-fifth said he lacked strong leadership skills and did not care about people like them, according to results provided by the pollster. The reaction to "the Impeachment trial is going to be driven mostly by partisanship," notes Abramowitz. "But nevertheless, there's going to be a lot of negative stuff that is going to come out, as we are seeing with these latest revelations" from Lev Parnas, the indicted former associate of Rudy Giuliani. A warning for Democrats, too All of these indications of resistance among economically satisfied voters are warning signs for Trump. The polling trends in Wisconsin -- the state both sides now consider most likely to determine the 2020 winner -- offer an offsetting warning for Democrats. There, as in the national surveys, the share of voters who approve of Trump's economic management is rising: While 48% of Wisconsin voters approved of his handling of the economy last August, that jumped to 55% in the Marquette University Law School poll released last week. Trump's overall approval rating isn't rising as fast, but it is rising: from 44% among registered voters last January to 48% in the latest survey. The new survey was the first time Trump's disapproval rating (at 49%) had inched below 50% in the state since the pollster's very first measure during his presidency in March 2017. In August 2019, Marquette's s