Citing an upcoming trip to Iowa, the Daily Beast asks: “Is Cory Booker already running for President in 2016?” This, of course, sounds absurd. He’s currently the mayor of Newark. He would be in the Senate for a cup of coffee before having to launch a presidential campaign.
Taking a more moderate approach, Taegan Goddard writes, “It’s probably safe to assume Booker will be on the short list of possible Democratic vice presidential picks in 2016.”
To be sure, the speculation is overwrought. Going to Iowa does not a presidential candidate make. But I think it’s utterly possible (not likely, but possible) that Booker could run for president now. After all, both sides of the aisle have thrown away the notion that tenure is a prerequisite.
True, Booker would be greener than the other potential Republican candidates, but at some point — once you’ve thrown away the notion that seniority counts — what does it matter? It’s not like Rand Paul could talk about Booker not having enough experience. The issue would be taken off the table.
(Nobody ever mentions this, but Mitt Romney was also just a one-term governor.)
As Benjy Sarlin tweets,
There might be a whole bunch of first term Senators running in 2016: Paul, Cruz, Booker (maybe), Warren. Obama Effect?
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) July 29, 2013
So here’s how I think it could potentially play out. Cory Booker runs as a sort of “safety” candidate. He runs in case Hillary either bows out or implodes. If that happens, Democrats won’t want to be stuck with Biden or O’Malley or Cuomo — all are flawed, boring, white guys with a certain amount of baggage.
This would be especially important if the Republicans were to nominate someone like Marco Rubio (a young candidate who would be the first Hispanic president) or Bobby Jindal (also young — and potentially the first Indian-American president.) But even if Hillary stays in, Booker could increase his likelihood of being her running mate by getting in (if he runs the right kind of campaign against her). Again, I’m not predicting this. But crazier things have happened.
UPDATE: Aaron Blake says Booker is not going to Iowa. (This, of course, changes nothing.)
UPDATE: Doug Mataconis raises a good point:
@mattklewis The question is,would Booker want to run three campaigns in a row (2013, re-elect for full Senate term in 2014 before 2016)
— Doug Mataconis (@dmataconis) July 29, 2013