Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) announced early Friday morning he was running in 2020 for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.
Booker, the junior senator from New Jersey, rolled out the announcement in a glossy two-minute video. The announcement has the usual sweeping references to a country in need of "a sense of common purpose." To a soundtrack of snare drums and brass, he explains that, "in America, courage is contagious," and "no one gets left behind." The former Rhodes Scholar and Stanford varsity athlete called for Americans to come together, because "we are better when we help each other."
Some longtime constituents in Newark, New Jersey are less than thrilled at the prospect of a Booker presidency. "He's not concerned with our struggle," one resident told NJ.com. While mayor of Newark, Booker accepted $100 million from Facebook to revamp the local school system, without success.
Booker took steps in the announcement to set himself apart in a Democratic field that grows by the week. Some lines were anodyne; he touted his ties and continued residence in Newark, noting that no other senator resides in a low-income community. He shared details of his parents' struggle to gain residence in a segregated neighborhood.
In a more pointed remark, he suggested the focus of his campaign and called for an America in which the "criminal justice system keeps us safe" rather than "shuffling more children into cages and coffins."
Criminal justice aside, Booker's stances remain elusive. On Friday morning, panelists on MNSBC's "Morning Joe" wondered where Booker stood on a number of issues, or how he would try to position himself within the crowded field.
Reversals on Wall Street, pharmaceuticals, and Israel may draw pressure from a historically progressive pack of Democrats vying for the nomination. A former Democratic campaign opponent has accused Booker of flip-flopping, long after they faced each other in the 2006 election.
If elected, Booker would be the first Garden State president since Woodrow Wilson.