Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. made more waves with her campaign from leaving the 2020 race than any point during. The day she left, Americans threw their hands in the air over the all-white, billionaire-heavy, anti-Democratic Democratic lineup for the December primary debate. 

On the bright side, at least the showing of the debate will pass the Bechdel test.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ has taken advantage of this opportunity the public has handed to him to spin this in his favor and use his “authentic connection” to the black community to gain enough support to make the debate stage.

Now, there isn’t anything wrong with that — no, I am not here to make that argument. I’m about to make the argument of why haven’t we looked at Cory yet? What took so long?

It is not hard to believe a couple of billionaires and a handful of white people representing the “party of the people” or the “party of the working people” or the “party of diversity” caused an uproar about race, diversity, and representation because we’ve been there a million times. But that is just it — that is what we’re supposed to be changing.

So where did we go wrong?

Was it not having a key candidate like Stacy Abrams, Michelle Obama, or Oprah Winfrey, all of whom were favored to possibly make a bid about a year ago? Or is it not placing enough priority on issues that matter more to people of color in earlier debates, like immigration and criminal justice reform, and too much emphasis on things like healthcare and Trump’s incompetence?

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Regardless of the cause, one we must identify and correct immediately and for the future, we are left with an interesting debate: Why not Cory Booker?

Despite the unfavorable conditions which have given Booker the spotlight, he now has an incredible opportunity — the opportunity for the nation to listen to him and finally decide if he is worth their vote.

Booker has not gotten much media attention before this point. Always favored as one of the “winners” of the debates or at least having one of the better performances, many have been waiting for him to break through for months. He comes at a different angle than many of the current candidates, one that focuses on criminal justice reform and fixing the hate that divides our country from within.

I have been following Cory Booker since he announced his candidacy Feb. 1 after watching his motivating campaign-launch video called “We Will Rise” that just attacked the emotional bone in my body because he knew what had to be done and he made that known.

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I had the incredible opportunity of meeting the senator this summer in Chicago at a campaign event. He spoke to the crowded, smallish room at a downtown restaurant about the importance of running the country on a foundation of love. 

A 50-year old vegan who has a Netflix documentary, a former Stanford football star and a Rhodes scholar — the same person that used to tweet every time he drank a cup of coffee or told a bad dad joke. He is a genuine character, not the quirky that candidates sometimes fake because they’re actually boring and lack personality.

The man is something out of a storybook. Mayor Booker, who reformed his schools, ran into a burning building to save a constituent, and who also once chased down someone during an active crime screaming “not in my city!” is actually real.

He was the first I heard mention the importance of universal broadband, the problem in our politics that reaches way beyond President Trump, addressing the mass incarceration issue that fosters more problems like addiction, sexual assault, and an impeccable racial injustice in our country coming from the racial disparities in the prison system.

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He emphasized the importance of America’s rank in the world, our necessary participation in the Paris Climate Accords, the Iran Nuclear deal, and getting competitive in the world with our education system. These are the things the Trumpian isolationism is holding us back from.

He understands we don’t need to abolish the filibuster in the Senate to get things done, we need to first win the elections that place those people in office and do it by ensuring voting is not suppressed — and above all, breaking the barriers of hate that drag the feet of compromise.

So I ask you, with genuine curiosity, why not Cory Booker? He is the perfect remedy for all the reasons you cannot seem to like another candidate. He demands massive change without dividing the party and has a clear vision for the future. Look up a video, give him ten minutes of your time, and I promise you will want to give him $10 right out of your pocket to win this election.

Cory stuck around for hours talking to everyone who came to the event and I got the chance to speak to him — an unforgettable moment. I told him people like him are the reason I fell in love with and find hope in politics. He held my hands in his and looked me in the eyes and told me it was people like me that inspired him to keep going every day. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Cory Booker 2020.

Kaitlin Kons ([email protected])  is a sophomore studying political science and public policy.