Politico recently reported New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker denies he is being vetted for the vice presidential slot on the Hillary Clinton ticket. Anyone familiar with DC-speak knows exactly what that means: he’s totally being vetted. His high school bully and middle school teacher are currently on the phone with the Clinton campaign, dishing their worst on the would-be successor to Joe Biden.
Of the potential Democratic running mates for Clinton, Booker’s case is one of the most compelling. The following six considerations (and more) are likely being tossed around the Clinton camp now.
1. Checking Race and Sex Boxes
Like the election of Barack Obama, this election season is one of America’s most historic in terms of special-interest group designations. For the first time, a woman has the real potential to become president of the United States. Since there had never been an African-American president previously, there has also never been an African-American vice president. Booker would add some color to a campaign that has, until this point, felt as if it’s been steered by white suburban residents and Silicon Valley millennials (because it has).
Clinton has a clear relatability problem with minorities, and adding the former mayor of Newark, a city with a justifiably rough reputation, could excite African-American voters who have been absent in the primaries. Unlike Obama and Hillary’s husband Bill, Hillary isn’t exactly beloved by minorities, including African-Americans. The situation proved problematic in the primaries and could spell trouble in November if the voters Obama motivated to register stay home this year.
2. Provides a Tri-State Buffer
For some inexplicable reason, Donald Trump is determined to win his hometown of New York, a state Republicans have justifiably left for dead for decades. With Trump hoping to spend a good deal of time in the area, a decision to tap a local hero for the VP slot would give Clinton a bump in the polls, even if few pollsters might feel it necessary.
As we’ve learned this primary season, it’s best not to underestimate Trump when he puts his mind to a task. If he’s determined to win New York (and New Jersey falls within its media market), Clinton might want to cover her bases as a contingency.
3. An Energizing Youth Feel to a Haggard Campaign
Hillary Clinton is one of the oldest candidates to run on a major ticket in a long while, at 68 years old. Every candidate on the ballots this election season has been in his or her late 60s or 70s (Trump is 70, Bernie Sanders is 74). Millennials are declaring “meh the vote” this election season for a reason.
Booker would bring some much-needed vitality to an elderly field, running around the trail taking selfies with every supporter he might cross paths with, creating a buzz across social media as supporters post their photos with the candidate. You’ve never seen a man so quickly and expertly take a selfie as when you shyly approach the man and say “Senator, may I…” The selfie is already taken by the time your sentence is complete.
4. Social Media Buzz
Hillary Clinton doesn’t do technology well. The most viral moment of her campaign on social media thus far was when an intern retweeted Trump with the phrase “delete your account.” Yawn.
Compare this to Booker, who regularly used Twitter to interact with constituents (myself included). When Newark residents direct messaged his account @CoryBooker about being snowed in during blizzards, the mayor would often show up, shovel in hand. Photos and videos of those encounters caused buzz every time. Booker doesn’t just understand technology, but harnesses it effectively and publicly.
5. He Seems to Get Stuff Done
Because photos of Booker flashed across the wires every time there was a blizzard in Newark, he often has the reputation of someone who gets stuff done, whatever the stuff may be. Despite the fact that Newark wasn’t in any better condition when he left the mayor’s office than when he entered, Booker’s reputation is that of someone who accomplishes stuff, even if that stuff is nondescript.
By all reports, Booker isn’t that difficult to get along with. In his time as mayor of Newark, he starred in a feel-good video with Republican Gov. Chris Christie that made it clear that, despite their political differences, the men were very much on speaking terms. In an era of partisan deadlock, and with a Democratic candidate who will surely inspire more of it, Clinton needs someone whom voters believe might be able to cross the aisle in the name of cooperation and even some joviality.