Cory Booker Shares Frustrations Over Presidential Candidates’ Focus on Race When Talking to Black Voters

Eyes on 2020An in-depth look at the candidates vying for the highest office in the land in 2020.

In an interview with The Root, presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) told us that he’s been about that life and that few senators have devoted more time to finding solutions to criminal justice issues and other subjects affecting black people than he has. In a sit-down interview at his home in Newark, N.J., he talked about how Newark, his home for more than two decades, set the tone for many of his key political platforms and how that’s primed him to run for president of the United States.


In this wide-ranging, more than 45-minute video, Booker talks about a range of issues, which we have broken down by time stamp to help you better navigate the video.

The quote leading the article, for example, can be found at 14:25 into the video.


As for criticisms that Booker is running a race-neutral campaign, Booker responded by saying at 15:49, “There has been nobody in the United States of America in the Senate that’s talked more about the racial biases in our criminal justice system. Speeches on the Senate floor, calling out in my own private caucus meetings issues of racial bias.”

He also pushed back against criticisms lamenting his refusal to call Donald Trump racist during a February interview with The Root at 11:42. Booker also outlined why black people should vote for him at 8:54 into the video, and more specifically, how he’s centering black women at 37:12. We asked him about the racism and double standards elected officials like U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) are receiving and how Democratic leadership can better support them at 38:40.

Booker dives into his views on charter schools and public education at 3:51.

At 28:46, he addresses the controversy over Newark’s use of stop-and-frisk during his tenure as mayor, and you’ll especially be interested in his response on whether or not policing should be abolished, at 29:55.


Booker shared his views on whether sex work should be decriminalized at 20:24; competing against progressive white candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke at 41:51; what white progressives get wrong about black voters at 43:07; the wave of bills passing in state legislatures threatening women’s access to abortion at 18:32; how his plans to address maternal mortality, at 17:54, are different from U.S Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-Calif.) proposal, at 20:00; and the challenges of Newark’s education system, at 2:29.

At 35:45, Booker spoke about environmental justice and how he plans to make polluters accountable.


We also spoke about how he plans on distinguishing himself in a very packed primary pool, at 10:15; his thoughts on the media obsession over his relationship status and sexuality, at 40:09; and his frustrations surrounding the reparations conversation, at 22:24.

“There’s skepticism in a lot of our communities about folks that are only coming to us when they need our vote,” he said. “They’re not coming to us often when we’re struggling with issues.”

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior reporter at The Root. He is currently writing a book proposal that analyzes US-Russia relations from a black perspective.

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At 35:45, Booker spoke about environmental justice and how he plans to make polluters accountable.

Finally. This issue isn’t getting nearly enough attention by candidates. People were poisoned in Flint by a substance known to be dangerous in water delivery systems since at least 1700 years ago. The issue also ties in appropriately with income inequality. 

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