Election 2020
Portrait of Cory Booker
Portrait of Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Democratic candidate

Booker, a senator from New Jersey who had been one of the country’s best-known mayors when he led Newark, has presented himself as a candidate of hope and optimism who wants to help heal the country. Booker, 50, was the subject of a documentary about his unsuccessful first run for mayor in 2002, a job he won four years later before heading to the Senate in 2013. He has established himself as a business-friendly liberal, although he has distanced himself from some of his former Wall Street and Silicon Valley ties. On the campaign trail, he draws on the story of his family integrating a suburban neighborhood in the face of opposition and his current residence in the inner city.

In depth

Cory Booker and the Orthodox rabbi were like brothers. Now they don’t speak.: A bond that bridged racial and religious divides collapsed in an increasingly divided country.

Kevin Sullivan, May 31, 2019, 15 minutes

Climate change

Booker talks about “environmental justice,” making sure that all communities have access to clean water and air. He sponsored Green New Deal legislation and said he would immediately rejoin the Paris climate agreement and push both the United States and other countries to decarbonize more quickly. He calls for carbon-free electricity by 2030 and investment in research and commercialization of new technology. Booker supports a ban on fracking and the development of advanced nuclear reactors.

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Economic inequality

Booker wants to “restore economic justice to our tax code,” and has proposed taxes on some capital gains and dividends. He supports expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to more working people, including low-income caregivers and students. One of the cornerstones of his presidential bid is a “baby bond,” which would provide a trust fund for every American child, funded by the government.

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In the Newark city council, Booker was an advocate of providing taxpayer-funded vouchers to pay for private schools, a movement that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos supports. He has moved away from that stance and separated himself from DeVos, opposing her nomination in 2017. Booker now calls for universal early childhood education, increased teacher pay and investment in low-performing school districts. He has also proposed greater investment in historically black colleges and universities and helping lower the student debt load.

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Foreign policy

Booker says he wants to strengthen ties with allies and rely on diplomacy. He supports cutting the defense budget. Booker declined to set a firm timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan but said he wants to ensure “we do it expeditiously, we do it safely, to not create a vacuum that’s ultimately going to destabilize the Middle East and perhaps create the environment for terrorism and for extremism to threaten our nation.” He would not continue President Trump’s policy of meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and called for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to leave office.

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The senator has said the electoral college should be eliminated in favor of the popular vote. He also has said he’s open to considering term limits for Supreme Court justices.

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Health care

Booker co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill but has said he wouldn’t do away with private health insurance. He has backed proposals to lower Medicare’s eligibility age to 50 and to create a Medicaid-based public health-care option on state insurance marketplaces. Booker says he’d allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and penalize drug companies that inflate drug prices. He stresses the need for increased access to long-term care, particularly for elderly Americans.

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Booker has said he doesn’t support building more barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. He wants to end family separation and help more undocumented immigrants get a path to citizenship. Booker has called for reorganizing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying he’s “concerned that the Trump administration has removed seemingly every guardrail ensuring due process in immigration enforcement” and said he would support civil instead of criminal penalties for people apprehended while crossing the border.

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Who agrees with you?

Answer some of the policy questions that the candidates did and see which candidates your answers align with.

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