Senator Cory Booker in Beaverdale
DES MOINES, Iowa – As I parked my car on the street in the Beaverdale neighborhood of Des Moines, I noticed a brown Escalade pull up to the side of a small white house. A few Cory Booker staffers walked up to the car and opened the door as Senator Cory Booker got out. There was not a lot of people outside to greet Sen. Booker, I was wondering if there was going to be a lot of people at all. I walked into the house where the event was going to be held and found it almost empty. However, I was then led outside where I found a large group of people waiting to hear Sen. Booker speak. The campaign had moved everyone outside because the house was not big enough for everyone there.
Although we were outside in January, the weather was mild, with the sun and the crowd of people keeping everyone warm. A Booker campaign staffer was already on the patio out back that was used for a stage and was speaking of his experiences on how he got to work on the campaign and why he chose to work for Sen. Booker. While he was finishing up his speech, you could see Sen. Booker’s head peeking over the back door through the windows.
Sen. Booker walked out on the patio from the back door and the staffer handed off the microphone while the crowd energetically cheered. As he spoke, the vibe in that small backyard was reflected by not only how well he speaks but how he is doing in the Iowa polls and the national polls. Sen. Booker made the crowd laugh with his dad jokes, feel sad about our current president and feel hopeful for the future in a matter of minutes. His speech could almost pass as a speech by a candidate who had recently dropped out. He rarely mentioned his own qualifications or his plans if he were to become president, but he was still filled with incredible passion. As Sen. Booker wrapped up his speech with his inspiring tag line “We will rise!” I wondered how he could be doing so poorly in the polls.
At the end of his speech, Sen. Booker opened up time for questions. A student my age raised his hand and said that he was a student at USC. Sen. Booker made a joke about how he played for football Stanford and played against USC quite a bit. The student then asked about why people think that he talks little about policy or any substance behind policy. Sen. Booker said, “Wow!” as a few people in the crowd almost gasped. Sen. Booker then responded with no sarcasm, “I have never heard that one before.” He then went on to talk about some examples of policies that he has enacted in office. Although he has been a policymaker for a long time and has some great accomplishments, I was surprised to hear that he had never heard that criticism before. Sen. Booker’s campaign has struggled to find its message and a big reason is that he has no signature issues. With the Iowa caucus coming up in a few weeks, Sen. Booker is going to need to find a surge of caucus-goers to caucus for him soon.