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Cory Booker has a reasonably high chance of being the Democratic nominee in 2020. There are good reasons for this. He gave a great speech at the DNC that really rallied everyone who heard it against hate. Given the amount of hate that is coming, this is a good thing. His testifying against Jeff Sessions was excellent. He is charismatic and has a great chance of reviving the Obama coalition. That charisma and leadership potential is absolutely crucial for whoever the nominee is going to be.

At the same time, the nominee is almost certainly to be someone who can speak to some sort of economic populism. Maybe that can be Cory Booker. But he has a lot to answer for. His embrace of charter schools and the inherent anti-unionism involved in them made him a heck of a lot of enemies. So have his close ties to Wall Street. And now we have him voting against allowing the importation of prescription drugs from overseas. All of these are real problems for him and should make us ask him very hard questions. I get that he is from New Jersey. He is also basically untouchable in that state. He can defy Wall Street and the Big Pharma companies based in New Jersey to run for the presidency. He needs to if he indeed is going to do that. Unfortunately, he does not seem to understand that. And thus he is going to be rightfully criticized from the left.

Booker has mostly been a pretty good senator. Despite his past apostasy, I could potentially see supporting him in 2020 and of course certainly will if he is the nominee. He’s light years better than Andrew Cuomo or Rahm Emanuel. But he needs to be a lot smarter about his votes and a lot smarter about adopting economically progressive positions if he is going to make that run. Because someone is going to be the economically left candidate and that person is going to make a compelling case to a whole lot of voters, no matter what happens in the next 3 years before the Iowa caucus. It could be Booker. But right now, it’s not.

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