The late Carl Sharif told him he needed to work the ward hard, and so Cory Booker pounded on doors in the Central Ward to land a Newark City Council seat, later served as a big city mayor, and then went statewide to become a United States Senator, jobs – in between the campaigns – that all add up to significant life experience – but only if one values those particular elected office skills associated with serving constituencies.
Now, as he prepares for a 2020 presidential rumble, the trouble at first blush for Booker – who assembled what in a past order of the political universe might have been a respectable two-decade resume – is that elected office no longer seems to be of any political value. Ours is a world – in the gentlest terms – that looks skeptically at the skill-set of elected officialdom, which on a good day (to borrow a well-worn New Jersey phrase) is unhip, and on a bad day may even be corrupt.
Hillary Clinton pals packaged her as the most experienced person ever to run for president, and the country (the electoral college version of it anyway) went with an Access Hollywood alternative.
Consider the following: Donald J. Trump never served in elected office prior to winning the 2016 presidential election. Same with Phil Murphy, who won the New Jersey governorship in 2017. Of New Jersey’s four new congress people-elect (Andy Kim, Tom Malinowski, Mikie Sherrill and Jeff Van Drew), only Van Drew