Straight Outta Harrington Park, NJ -- Here’s Cory Booker

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is at it again; injecting race into the presidential campaign in order to redirect focus from failed leftist policies.  In a recent tweet, President Trump suggested that a Biden administration would oversee an expansion of unsafe, low-income housing in suburbia, with Booker leading the charge.  Booker countered with his own tweet, claiming that the President’s “racism is showing,” followed by an email calling Trump’s tweet “blatantly racist.”  Trump’s tweet contained no mention of race, but since it was critical of Booker, and since Booker is African-American, that is the only qualification needed to justify launching an accusation of racism.  Booker’s tactic is nothing new, as the approach is a daily occurrence with Democrats as we approach Election Day.  But a closer look at Booker’s history reveals that his disingenuousness is not limited to attacks on political opponents, but goes much deeper, and is in fact a large part of his personal narrative.

The towns and cities in which we grow up often have a profound effect on who we become as we grow older.  They become part of our identities.  Rapper/entrepreneur Dr. Dre comes from the mean streets of Compton, CA, a city which plays prominently in the subject matter of many of his songs; songs which would sound much different if his hometown had been Beverly Hills.  Now, contrast Dr. Dre with Cory Booker.  Based on complicit media coverage and Booker’s own storytelling, most casual political observers assume Booker is from the city of Newark, but that assumption is incorrect.  Senator Booker grew up in the small hamlet of Harrington Park, NJ, before heading to Stanford University on a football scholarship, followed by Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and then to Yale for his law degree.   To put that misrepresentation into perspective, Beverly Hills has more in common with the city of Compton than Newark has with Harrington Park.  And that is not an exaggeration, it is actually an understatement.

Though smaller in population -- 4,664 residents in Harrington Park and 34,109 in Beverly Hills -- the demographics of the two towns are quite similar.  According to the 2010 U.S. census, Beverly Hills is 87% white compared to 80% for Harrington Park.  Conversely, the cities of both Compton and Newark are 26% white.  The real difference lies in the financial disparities, however.  The median household income for Harrington Park is a whopping $127,188 per year compared to only $103,068 per year in Beverly Hills, whereas Compton’s median household income of $48,117 per year is significantly higher than that of Newark’s $34,826 per year.  Even though it is only 25 miles away geographically, Harrington Park is financially and culturally in another hemisphere compared to Newark.

If we perform a Google search of “Cory Booker Hometown,” it immediately produces this result: “Newark,” in large font.  Yet Booker only moved to Newark with his eye on politics at the age of 28, long after what most would consider his formative years.  Almost immediately, he began serving on the Newark city council, before becoming mayor and then U.S. senator in 2013.  Undeterred by reality, Booker began his 2020 presidential campaign with a rally in Newark and released a video of the event entitled, “A Hometown Kickoff.”  Right after thanking his mother for introducing him at the beginning of that speech, Booker began explaining that he is “seeking justice” and boasted about what he “learned right here on these streets.”  There is little doubt that launching a campaign with that type of rhetoric is much more compelling if the streets he refers to are in the gritty city of Newark as opposed to the tree-lined streets of Harrington Park, full of Jaguars and BMWs.  If you want to have a diverse crowd that you can use as props and depict as victims of social injustice, it will not have the same impact if you are surrounded by million-dollar homes in a posh suburb.  No, Harrington Park does not fit with the story that Cory Booker is trying to sell, but that is where his true origins lie.

Booker’s parents were two of the first-ever minority executives for IBM and were obviously able to provide a comfortable lifestyle for him and his brother Cary. Good for them.  Undoubtedly, Booker’s parents had to overcome racism and discrimination on their path to success, but succeed they did.  The Bookers’ prosperity is the American Dream realized.  A black couple rise to the highest levels of corporate America and raise two successful children in an upper-class town like Harrington Park.  That type of story should be celebrated and held up as an example of what can be accomplished by determined, hard-working people in the greatest country the world has ever known.  Instead of embracing that story and holding it up for all to see, Booker tries to conceal it and takes every opportunity to try to divide us on race.  Booker led the effort in June 2019 to introduce the first and only slavery reparations bill in the history of the U.S. Senate, and cited, “the institutional racism and white supremacy that has economically oppressed African-Americans for generations” as a catalyst.  So, the guy who grew up in a town the rest of us only dreamed of is lecturing voters about economic oppression?  The African-American who graduated from Stanford, Oxford, and Yale Law School wants to right the wrongs of “institutional racism”?  Tell us more, Senator.

The playbook for Booker as a presidential candidate was easily recognizable and entirely predictable.  First, pander to the leftist Democrat base as often as possible; then, try not burn bridges with any candidate, leaving the door open for the VP selection; and finally, divide voters as frequently as possible with identity politics. Booker proudly supported extreme positions such as legal abortion up until the time of birth and free health care for illegal immigrants, thereby pacifying the leftist Democrat base.  He tried to portray himself as peacemaker when he said, “we cannot tolerate Democrats who turn against other Democrats and try to tear us down,” thus positioning himself as a potential running mate.  And in addition to his crusade for slavery reparations, Booker does not miss a chance to play Social Justice Warrior.  Upon not qualifying for the candidates’ debate in Los Angeles last December, which came on the heels of Kamala Harris (D-CA) dropping out of the race a few days earlier, Booker whined, “it’s a problem that we now have an overall campaign for the 2020 presidency that has more billionaires in it than black people.” The problem is not that Booker was a lousy candidate, you see, it is not his fault. It is racism.  Divide, divide, divide; by race, by religion, by wealth. By any identity trait available, Booker must divide.

Born only four years after the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1965, there is no doubt that Booker encountered racism growing up, even in a town as nice as Harrington Park.  But to pretend that somehow Cory Booker has been the victim of institutionalized racism is laughable.  Instead of trying to divide us, Senator, tell America of your agenda and be honest with us about your intentions and who you are.  Consider moving to the political center if you truly want to have a positive impact, and abandon the radical leftists in your party. Please stop with your divisiveness and disingenuousness.  You are not from the mean streets of Newark, you are not a victim, and you have clearly led a blessed life; and that is okay.

For more from PF Whalen, visit the blog

Twitter: @pf_whalen

Image: Gage Skidmore

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