The recent announcement that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) suspended his campaign for President of the United States should come as no surprise even to his supporters. Booker, like Sen. Kamala Harris, never had a chance. They would tell you it was because of racism and sexism in the case of Harris. I beg to differ.
On a side note, I love the word choice candidates use when they are quitting their quest for the White House. The word “suspended” is a temporary state. If a student is suspended from school, it means that at some point, the school will allow the student to return. So when Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, and everybody else announced that they were “suspending their campaign,” does that mean they will later resume? This is straight-up word-smithing. In fact, it’s over.
There are several reasons why Booker never gained traction on the campaign. First, Booker isn’t real. Everything he does is with a flair for the dramatic. Recall his acting during the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearing. He actually referred to himself as Spartacus! Come on, Cory. Get real. Black voters saw right through that charade. Spartacus was a 1960 movie about a Greek slave. Has Booker never heard of Nat Turner or Frederick Douglass?
Booker’s campaign was doomed from the start because he is a flawed candidate who was hoping to resonate with black voters. He competed with fellow Jamaican/Indian Senator Kamala Harris for that demographic. However, they both fell flat on their faces. Think about this. They let Joe Biden walk into the race and push them aside immediately polling with huge support in places like black voter rich South Carolina, basically the third Democratic primary.
There is a simple explanation about why this happened. As I said, Booker is a fraud, and so is Harris. They both come from middle to upper-middle class beginnings. Nothing wrong with that. They should have embraced it. Instead, they ran from it. They were both Ivy League-educated. They did not share the experiences of blacks in urban ghettos. Neither did Barack Obama, but he had charisma. Obama could break into a black dialect speaking cadence in front of a black audience or from the pulpit in a black church. He was a master manipulator. Obama also had one thing in his favor that neither Booker nor Harris had. Obama was breaking a barrier to become the first African American president in U.S. history. Black voters saw the mountaintop and saw Obama as their best hope to finally get there. Remember Obama’s campaign theme? Hope and Change and more powerfully, Yes we can! It resonated in black America. After Obama won in 2008, that first black president theme had been achieved. That excitement is over. Booker and Harris never came up with a reason for black voters to get excited about the prospect of the second black president.
In addition to not being real, Booker and Harris are not authentic in who they are and neither resonated in the hood. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying they are not authentically black. But, both of them continually tried to over-emphasize how down with the struggle they were. Black people aren’t stupid. When you over-do something, they’ll see right through it, and therefore black voters ultimately didn’t trust them. Booker and Harris were "faking the funk" as they say in the hood. They never convinced black voters about who they were and what they would do for them and therefore, forfeited this stronghold of their base to Biden. If either was going to compete in the Democrat primary, they needed full black support. It never materialized. A photo-op with Al Sharpton was doing it this time.
How embarrassing that they allowed Joe Biden, who as a U.S. senator opposed busing to achieve school desegregation and proudly said that he got along with segregation supporting members of Congress. He never really did anything substantial for black people in all these years but they trusted him for some reason. In 2007 he called candidate Obama clean, articulate and good looking. I guess that was enough.
Moreover, neither Booker nor Harris created a lasting vision for blacks or Democratic voters in general. All of their campaign products like bumper stickers and tee shirts simply said Cory or Kamala—both not household names in the black community. Let’s call it as it is: they expected black voters to automatically support them because they are black. That might work for more established black politicians, ones that have been around the block and share experiences of blacks living life at the bottom because at least they connect emotionally with them and understand their plight. Obama was great at selling that emotion even though he didn’t mean it.
Instead of a Spartacus moment, Booker needed a Donald Trump moment. In his first quest for political office, Trump already had name recognition. Trump added a vision to that, something people could see in their minds—Make America Great Again was his vision. He put that slogan on baseball caps, tee shirts, bumper stickers, and yard signs. Democrats spent so much time attacking that phrase that they lost focus while it became a rallying cry for the forgotten Americans left behind by Democrats like Booker and Harris, who didn’t understand what they were doing from the jump and wasted lots of money promoting themselves while the voters yawned.
So back to the Senate you go, Cory and Kamala. You don’t belong there either, but you sure as hell don’t deserve to be the leader of the free world. Get real. Get authentic. Get lost.
Sheriff David Clarke Jr. is former Sheriff of Milwaukee Co, Wisconsin, President of AmericasSheriff LLC, advisory Board member for We Build the Wall Inc, author of the book Cop Under Fire: Beyond Hashtags of Race Crime and Politics for a Better America. To learn more visit www.americassheriff.com
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