Sen. Cory Booker can’t break out of the Democratic presidential candidate pack–he just barely reportedly met the fundraising threshold for the December debate stage but still needs to meet the polling threshold–and perhaps it’s because he’s not hard left enough for a liberal base that even former President Barack Obama recently warned was creeping too far left.
Indeed, Booker has expressed some ideas that indicate he is open to policies the left rejects.
For example, Booker has worked to boost charter schools and educational choice, which disproportionately help black and Latino children. And during Wednesday’s debate, we heard some actual commonsense from Cory Booker on the business aspirations of the black community. Booker was pushing back against Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax proposal, which Booker rejects. Booker even pointed out that minimum wage hikes kill job creation.
“We as Democrats need to fight for a just taxation system,” Booker said, according to a RealClearPolitics transcript. “But as I travel around the country, we Democrats also have to talk about how to grow wealth, as well.
When I stood in church recently and asked folks in a black church how many people here want to be entrepreneurs, half the church raised their hands. If we as a country don’t start — if we as a party don’t start talking not just about how to tax wealth, but how to give more people opportunities to create wealth, to grow businesses, to have their American dream — because, yeah, we need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, $15 an hour.
But the people in communities I frequent, they’re not — aspiration for their lives is not just to have those fair wages. They want to have an economy that provides not just equalities in wealth, but they want to have equalities in opportunity. And that’s what our party has to be about, as well.”
Booker is spot on about the entrepreneurial values of the African-American community. And these values are especially strong among young black Americans, who are more likely than younger peers to own a business, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.
Conservatives support policies like deregulation, lower taxes and rolling back onerous occupational licensing–all things that help black entrepreneurs.
If Booker is willing to reach across the aisle, he could be a real leader in helping African Americans achieve their goals.