Cory Booker advocates for unity, cooperation among Americans on campaign trail


Nadine El-Bawab

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. at a campaign event at local Fenway bar Game On!

Nadine El-Bawab, deputy campus editor

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., made an appearance at local Fenway bar Game On! to pitch unity and activism in his bid for the presidency on Monday, Oct. 21 during a grassroots campaign event.

The junior Senator spoke for nearly 30 minutes about his hopes for the country, arguing that Democratic candidates should aim higher than simply defeating current U.S. President Donald J. Trump for office.

“A lot of my Democratic friends don’t understand that the highest calling of the Democratic Party is not to beat Republicans. In this moral moment, that calling has to be to unite Americans in common cause and common purpose,” Booker said to a cheering crowd. 

Booker did not stop short of critiquing Democratic candidates for attacking one another’s character, claiming that the candidates are not all that different, a message he put forth during the last Democratic debate.

“The differences between us on these debate stages are actually small compared to the gulf between us and the person that’s in the White House right now,” Booker said. He later added that “we did not get to where we are [as Americans], because of the themes like rugged individualism or self reliance.”

After finishing his speech, Booker met with attendees who lined up to take selfies with him. He then spoke with student journalists from Boston colleges and universities.  

When asked about his plans to improve access to healthcare insurance, Booker stated his support for parts of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All bill, but said he would not eliminate private insurance, a stance few Democratic candidates have taken. 

“I think we need to [take] logical steps to drive down costs and expand [healthcare] access until we get to the point in America where we have [reached] my goal,” Booker said. 

Booker also spoke of his plans for healing relations with U.S. allies abroad, stating that multilateral diplomacy makes America stronger.  

“[Trump is] turning his back on his allies, betraying people like the Kurds. He has a better relationship with Putin than he does with Macron and Merkel. This is unacceptable. We are the strongest nation on the planet Earth, [and] our strength is magnified and multiplied when we stand together with allies in common cause,” Booker said. “From the Iran anti-nuclear deal to the Paris Climate Accords, America needs to stand with our allies and actually lead this planet, [in order] to deal with the issues that are most threatening us, from Middle East peace to global climate change.”

In response to low turnout among young voters, Booker asked the youth to head to the polls and exercise their right to political action. 

“We need young people not to wait, [and] to understand that this nation doesn’t just need them; we will not succeed without their active engagement in our democracy,” he said. “I’m really leaning heavily on youth activists to begin to shape the agenda of America; and then to make that agenda real.”

The Senator also addressed the importance of getting college and university graduates debt-free, aligning with other nations that are lowering the barriers to secondary education. Booker is proposing providing children with “Baby Bonds” in order to close the wealth gap. He plans to give newborns $1000 at birth and children from low-income households up to $2000 each year.

“We should … stop profiting off of the backs of struggling millennials. We have a nation right now where the federal government makes billions and billions of dollars off of your interest payments,” he said. “I think we should take that money, re-channel it so that we can freeze it to trace or eliminate interest rates.”

Booker shared a conversation he had with his mother in his 20s as he was graduating from law school which pushed him toward his presidential candidacy.

“She said to me, think about what you would do in life if you knew you could not fail and do that… It inspired me to move to Newark, New Jersey, to a really tough neighborhood and began my career of activism,” Booker said. “When I started weighing the pros and cons of running for president, I began to look at the list and one was all about fears and the other one was all about courage and faithfulness. And so I when I saw that, it was clear to me what I needed to do. It wasn’t about me, it was about my nation.”

On issues of reproductive healthcare, Democratic candidates share similar views, such as codifying Roe v. Wade. Booker argues that decreasing disproportionate access to reproductive healthcare among low-income women is one way to lower abortion rates. If elected, he also wants to make reproductive healthcare a main part of his presidency. 

“For those people who say, ‘well I’m against abortion.’ Well, they should know that the state with the best record for lowering rates of abortion is Colorado and how do they do it? By expanding access to contraception for low-income women,” Booker said.

When asked whether he would vote to impeach Trump, Booker said he will evaluate the evidence put before the Senate and then make a decision on his vote, but refused to promise that he will vote to impeach the president. 

“His actions so far are damning. I think he continues to dig a hole deeper every single day that more information comes out,” Booker said. “[But] I swore an oath to my duty. I think Donald Trump is not doing his, but I am going to do mine.”