Cory Anthony Booker has served since 2013 as the junior U.S. senator from New Jersey, serving alongside Bob Menendez. A member of the Democratic Party, Booker previously served as the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, from 2006 – 2013. Although born in Washington, D.C., Booker was raised in the northern New Jersey suburbs outside New York City. Although Booker once positioned himself as somewhat of a moderate, he has voted in the U.S. Senate as — and now seeks the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination as — a hard-left, full-spectrum progressive leftist. In current 2020 Democratic presidential nomination polling, Booker currently gets national support in the low single digits. In current state-by-state Democratic presidential primary polling, he is very dependent upon black voters for support.
Booker, who is the first African-American U.S. senator from New Jersey, is unmarried and is an open vegetarian. For political purposes, he once fabricated an imaginary drug dealer “friend” named “T-Bone.” Booker similarly showed his “creative” side when, as a senator on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, he infamously self-induced a “Spartacus moment.”
Booker has a bachelor and master degree from Stanford University, attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and went to law school at Yale University.
Electoral History: Booker first sought political office in 1998, when he successfully ran for a seat on the Newark, New Jersey, municipal council. He served on the council until 2002, when he forfeited his councilman seat by deciding to run for the Newark mayorship. Booker lost his 2002 race to incumbent Sharpe James. Booker ran again for Newark mayor in 2006, when James decided to forfeit the mayorship to run for the New Jersey State Senate instead. Booker overwhelmingly won the 2006 mayor race and was also re-elected in 2010. Booker cultivated a moderate reputation as Newark mayor, supporting school choice policies, friendliness with the business community, and expressing sympathy with Israel.
In 2013, Booker announced that he would run in the special election for the U.S. Senate seat that had been held by Frank Lautenberg before he passed away. Booker easily won the special election over Republican Steve Lonegan and has served as a U.S. senator ever since.
On The Issues: Although Booker once positioned himself as a moderate, he is now seeking the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination as one of the most avowedly leftist members of the field. Booker is adamantly pro-criminal defendant and anti-incarceration, and has made prison population reduction and “criminal justice reform” a huge part of his policy platform. He is a full-spectrum economic, social, and national security progressive leftist. Indeed, on Israel-related issues, Booker has so greatly abandoned his erstwhile staunch Zionism that notable Orthodox rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a formerly close friend and mentor of Booker’s, now refuses to even speak with him.
Constitution: Booker consistently supports a leftist/progressive view of the Constitution and rule of law. He supports Roe v. Wade and the constitutionality of affirmative action. He is defensive of Fourth Amendment-inspired civil liberties and has objected to aspects of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. He supports gun control measures that would restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights. He supported the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared same-sex nuptials to be a Fourteenth Amendment right. Booker has suggested support for eradicating the Electoral College. As a member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, Booker — who infamously had his “Spartacus moment” during the hearing — came out in full support of accuser Christine Blasey Ford and opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Economy: As Newark mayor, Booker cultivated a reputation as a relatively centrist, pro-business Democrat — even going so far as to criticize President Barack Obama’s criticism of Bain Capital during his 2012 presidential election campaign against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. But Booker’s economic views have generally shifted leftward since joining the U.S. Senate. He supports a robust role for antitrust enforcement in the economy, and also supports an expansive federal government role in the promoting and subsidization of affordable housing. On occasion, however, Booker has still spoken of excessive regulation as a hindrance to private economic innovation.
Health Care: Booker has criticized Obamacare for not going far enough and has supported a single-payer/”Medicare-for-All” health insurance system that would amount to a governmental takeover and imposition of socialized health care in America. In the interim, Booker has also supported expanding Obamacare subsidies. He has opposed efforts to reform or limit funding for bankrupting health care-related entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Immigration: Booker has taken a hard line in support of the DREAM Act and other amnesty legislative initiatives that would undermine America’s sovereignty and empower brutal Mexican cartels and human trafficking rings. He has been a consistently harsh critic of the Trump administration’s attempts to secure our border amidst a hitherto unprecedented influx there of Central American migrants. Booker has been harshly critical of Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the Trump administration. He has been very skeptical of the utility of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Foreign Policy: Booker was once emphatically pro-Israel, due perhaps to his erstwhile deep exposure to Jewish learning and thought. But perhaps for political reasons, Booker has soured greatly on Israel — has supported Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, opposed Trump’s move of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and even voted against Senate Republicans’ anti-BDS legislation early in 2019. He generally takes a non-interventionist foreign policy posture and has supported efforts to limit U.S. military funding of Saudi Arabia, Iran’s top regional foe. He supports a return to the Iran nuclear deal.
Abortion: Booker is emphatically pro-abortion and, like many of his 2020 Democratic presidential nomination challengers, has called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which has historically proscribed taxpayer funding of abortion.
Guns: Booker supports “universal” background checks, which often serve as a rhetorical euphemism for the government serving as an intermediary in all private firearms transfers. He supports a national gun registry, which is a longtime foe of Second Amendment advocates. Booker supports a ban on the undefinable sub-class of firearms referred to as so-called “assault weapons” — a line of thought that, if taken to its logical conclusion, could lead to the banning of all semi-automatic firearms in America. Booker has also endorsed 2020 rival Beto O’Rourke’s gun confiscation plan.