Democratic Primary Exit Survey: Cory Booker

Cory Booker was never going to be president. The New Jersey senator briefly flirted with relevancy when he launched his 2020 campaign. But after a disappointing primary season, Booker officially ended his presidential bid Monday.

Booker, like so many other Democratic dropouts, never really found any traction. His coziness with the financial sector dogged him and he never overcame it.  He faded into the background in a Democratic field stacked with similar-sounding moderates and never polled above five percent in nearly a year. No amount of cute moments with Rosario Dawson or corny dad jokes could make him relevant.

Cory Booker Dad Jokes

Cory Booker is a big fan of dad jokes. So, we asked him what his favorite one is. (Warning: It’s a bit cringeworthy.)

Posted by VICE News on Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Booker’s campaign was full of cringe, but no moment stands out more blindingly than his reaction to Beto O’Rourke speaking Spanish at the very first Democratic debate. Booker’s side-eye was instantly memed before he unloaded some Spanish of his own. It was painfully obvious Booker felt O’Rourke had either one-upped him or stolen his go-to move (or both), and the results are probably just a bit more painful than you remember. And unfortunately it was by far the most buzz-worthy moment of his campaign.

Booker’s exit comes at a crossroads in the Democratic primary. Less than a month away from Iowa, the primary loses its last remaining African American candidate who isn’t a billionaire (yes, Deval Patrick is evidently still running). And less than two weeks after Julián Castro dropped out, Booker’s withdrawal only strengthens the notion that the young, affluent moderate shtick only really works if you’re white (see: Buttigieg, Pete).

Still, Booker could still have some impact in the primary months to come. The remaining frontrunners would likely covet his endorsement and he’s a prime candidate to fill a cabinet position regardless of who ultimately wins. This likely isn’t the last we’ve heard from Booker, but it probably kills any hope for First Lady Rosario Dawson.