Behind Closed Doors – The New York Times

Today, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, polling in the low single digits nationwide, raised his hand in a speech in Washington, saying: “Look no further.”

Mr. Booker, who entered the Democratic primary in February but has struggled to break through in polling and fund-raising, used a speech at the National Press Club to make his case to be the alternative to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Pitching himself as a great unifier, Mr. Booker also made clear that he believes a strategy of recapturing the Midwest by appealing to white working-class voters would risk ignoring a more central constituency for Democrats: black voters.

“That’s how we won as Democrats in 2008, 2012 and most recently in 2018,” Mr. Booker said. “I hear a lot of Democrats talking about winning the Midwest. Yes, I believe we as a party have to reach out to those voters who took a chance on Trump in the 2016 election. But we also win back the Midwest by turning out black voters in Milwaukee, in Detroit, in Philadelphia, who didn’t vote at all.”

Though he was more blunt about it today, Mr. Booker has already been making this case to voters in those very cities, traveling to all three over the summer.

In Washington, he pointed to his victories in elections for mayor of Newark in 2006 and 2010, and the 2013 special election for a Senate seat, as evidence of his ability to attract support from all corners of the party.

“I can and have excited a diverse coalition of voters,” Mr. Booker said. “I can and have united progressives and moderates. And I will not divide this party and drag others down in personal attacks for the sake of winning a short-term polling boost.”


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