Cory Booker Takes on Joe Biden at the 2020 Democratic Debate in Detroit

Monmouth University Poll of Iowa Democrats shows former Vice President Joe Biden in the lead, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren right behind, while Sen. Cory Booker lags behind at only 1 percent.

Getting attacked in politics is not necessarily a bad thing. It means you are relevant.

So Cory Booker had to be pleased Wednesday night when Joe Biden began talking about how Booker ran the city of Newark as mayor.

The former VP zeroed in on the police department, Biden said that under Booker’s leadership, Newark police routinely engaged in “stop and frisk.”  Critics say the policy allows police to stop and check
out individuals for no genuine reason.

Booker was ready.

“You’re dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don’t know the flavor,” Booker said, drawing laughs.

Booker said Newark Police had massive problems when he took over as mayor and that he was able to turn things around.

Forget about the actual issue. And the Kool-Aid. This was a good moment for Booker. He began the debate by polling no higher than 3 percent in virtually every sampling. In some polls he was at 1

And here he was going head-to-head with Biden, the frontrunner. Booker acquitted himself well. But he also did well in the first debate a month ago and realized no jump in the polls. Will this time be different? Maybe.

Booker began the debate criticizing Donald Trump for attacking his own country, citing the president’s negative comments on Baltimore. And when Booker said Trump was dividing the country “against itself” it was a good start.

Then what?

Booker used his next speaking opportunities to say that because Democrats were arguing with each other, Trump was enjoying the debate.

It was an odd comment to be sure. This was a debate among a large field of Democratic presidential hopefuls. Did Booker, or anyone else, expect them all to agree? What would be the point of that anyway?

As the nearly three-hour debate dragged on, Booker really didn’t have all that many chances to speak. He did say he would bring troops home from Afghanistan, but would not offer a timetable.

The senator from New Jersey used his closing statement to reiterate his theme that the nation and its people must seek a common bond. This was a clear rebuke of Trump, who Democrats accuse of destroying what binds all Americans together.

It’s a good point, but Booker’s campaign is not getting much traction and it’s questionable if that’s going to change.

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