Booker says he ‘wasn’t good enough’ to deliver message of unity in presidential campaign

Posted Jan 13, 2020

WASHINGTON  Cory Booker says he ran the race he wanted for the White House but "was not good enough” to get his message of unity through to the Democrats who will nominate the party’s presidential candidate.

“This is one of those strange campaigns where I wouldn’t change things,” Booker said told Rachel Maddow on MSNBC Monday night, hours after he ended his quest for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Booker said he ran the uplifting campaign he wanted, the same type of campaign he ran in Newark to become mayor

“The call of the country right now is to mobilize this nation to deal with the problems that are bigger than our partisanship,” he said. “It’s not about beating somebody else, it’s about winning this nation, which means bringing us together.”

“Clearly I was not good enough to get that message through,” he said.

He did acknowledge “a sadness — you know, mourning — when a year-long effort comes to an end.”

“I was hoping this would be an election that we could find some new healing, that it wouldn’t be a partisan victory we seek,” he said. “The call of my party cannot just to beat Republicans. At the end of the day, it needs to be about uniting Americans to a larger purpose. And that’s my prayer for our party.”

Booker said he would not endorse any of the other candidates at this time, but bemoaned the lack of diversity among those still in the race. Tuesday’s debate will feature six white candidates, a far cry from what had been the most diverse presidential field in U.S. history.

As he did during the campaign, Booker said the Democrats needed to focus on increasing turnout among minorities, who will support their candidates if they come to the polls. Black turnout dropped to 59.6 percent in 2016 after a record-high 66.6 percent in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.

There are a lot more of those potential voters than those who cast ballots for President Donald Trump in 2016 and could be convinced to switch sides, he said.

“We have to inspire record black and brown turnouts,” Booker said. “This is not about those 60 million Americans that voted for Donald Trump. This is about the tens of millions of Americans who didn’t vote at all who would be with us if we could just inspire them to the polls.”

Booker announced Monday he would seek re-election to the U.S. Senate, but also would travel around the country to get more minorities to vote.

“I will run myself ragged because we have to get everyone out,” he said.

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