Is there dysfunction in the Democratic Party?
The Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker, has made comments that do not fall in line with those of President Obama. Booker has been one of the most respected African American politicians in recent history. He has worked closely with the Obama Administration. However, is he now distancing himself from Obama?
When speaking with “Meet the Press,” Booker called the attack on Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, his previous private equity firm, “nauseating.” Booker shocked Democrats as he basically knocked his own party’s strategy.
Since then, Booker has been present in the media world making it clear that his words were not reported in context. He has been on damage control and making the clear stance that he stands with President Obama.
Republicans are trying to paint a picture of a dysfunctional Democratic Party.
Is this true?
It might be true. It is possible Booker is being honest and it was simply a bad choice of words that has been taken ridiculously out of context by Republicans. It is also possible that Booker disagrees with Obama. It could also be that as one of the top African American politicians in the United States, Booker took the opportunity to separate himself from Obama so he won’t be associated with any negativity linked to the current administration.
After-the-fact, Booker has been adamant in saying he is with Obama. He says he is against the lack of bipartisan support. Thus it is very likely that his comments came from anger about attack ads. Negative campaigning is not very likely to create a more positive situation in Congress. Booker says before he stands with the Democratic Party, he stands with the United States and its people first.
Does it matter?
Not really. It might seem like a big issue today, but politics are not about what a mayor said in a Sunday morning interview. Elections are decided, typically, by the economy, presidential approval, and to a degree, foreign policy.
Two weeks ago, did you know who Cory Booker was? Two weeks from now will you remember who Cory Booker is? Are you really going to make your decision about who to vote for this November based on what a New Jersey Mayor said in an interview about negative campaigning, which has been a fixture in campaigning in the United States since the early 1800’s when Presidential elections began?
Basic voting models show that this won’t have much of an effect on the election. (Click here for an example of a voting model that allows you to test potential results based on economy and approval rating.)
The approval of Obama is not to the point where he is on par with a huge pop star, but it is good enough. The economy is not fully recovered, but when compared to recoveries from previous recessions and depressions, it is good enough. The economy and approval rating would both have to plummet notably for Obama to be in danger of losing in November.
Romney would need to prove to Americans, especially moderate voters (typically the only voters who even MIGHT vote for the other party) that he can do a better job than Obama. And with Obama doing a job that is good enough so far, combined with the fact that Romney has no previous presidential terms to show how he would perform as a president, it is going to be very difficult for Romney to sway enough voters.
Will Booker have any effect?
No. If Booker’s views and comments will alter anyone’s vote this November, it will likely only be his own. Most voters had no idea who Booker was until this week. In fact, most voters probably still have no idea who he is and have not heard his comments. Come November 6th will anyone remember this situation? If the accuracy of numerous voting models and political studies are worth the time and money spent on them, then the answer is clear. Cory Booker’s comments will have zero effect on the outcome of the election.