Senator Cory Booker, whose campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination never gained momentum and who failed to qualify for Tuesday’s Democratic debate, has ended his run for president.
On Medium, Booker wrote that he simply doesn’t have the money to continue his run, and that there was “no longer a path to victory” for his campaign. “Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win—money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington,” he wrote.
In a message he posted on Twitter, Booker wrote that he is “so proud of what we built.” In an accompanying video, he shared that he plans on supporting whomever emerges victorious from the primary. “I can’t wait to get back on the campaign trail, and campaign as hard as I can for whoever is the eventual nominee, and for candidates up and down the ballot,” he says.
According to Politico, Booker will instead be running for reelection in the Senate.
With Booker’s departure, the Democratic field has gotten even more white, with the exception of Andrew Yang and Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts whom I admittedly forgot was still running until this very moment. And neither Yang nor Patrick qualified for Tuesday’s debate, which will feature an all-white lineup—Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and billionaire Tom Steyer.
Activists, as well as Booker and former candidate Julián Castro, have criticized the DNC for what they view as rules that have excluded candidates of color from the debates. “Both the way the primary is set up and the way debates are done are a problem,” Rashad Robinson, the executive director of Color of Change, told the Washington Post recently. Robinson added, “The system they have designed has suppressed the most loyal base of the Democratic Party.”
Booker, in an email to supporters at the end of December, blasted the DNC rules that he wrote were working to exclude “the perspectives of diverse communities.” “We shouldn’t have debate rules that, on the one hand, allow self-funding billionaires like Tom Steyer to buy their way onto the stage, while, on the other, excluding qualified candidates of color from the conversation,” he wrote.
But while Booker’s criticisms of the DNC are valid, his campaign was hampered by other issues—his perceived coziness with the pharmaceutical industry and record as a moderate made it all but impossible to rebrand himself as a progressive, and I for one never quite knew why he was running for president. Something about... love? Bringing love back to politics? And while he proposed some interesting ideas, like his idea for baby bonds, it was always unclear if there was a lane for Booker among the Democratic base—progressive voters, including left-leaning young black voters, continue to favor Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. And given the plethora of (white) options for moderate white voters, as well as the continuing preference of a large number of older black voters for Joe Biden, Booker’s campaign never took off.
At least he still has Rosario!