Booker: Diversity, perception of fairness 'critically important' for Democrats in 2020 race

Booker: Diversity, perception of fairness 'critically important' for Democrats in 2020 race
© Greg Nash

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets MORE (D-N.J.) said hours after suspending his presidential campaign that diversity and the perception of fairness will be “critically important” for Democrats running in the 2020 primary now that the only top contenders remaining are white. 

“Well, I want to remind — and you know this — that we are a party that will succeed by not how much we can put down the people who aren't voting for us but how much we can inspire the people that will — want to vote for us but often don’t come out,” Booker told MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowHere are top contenders to be Biden's VP Juan Williams: We must not become numb to Trump's abnormality Mary Trump claims she's heard Trump use racist, anti-Semitic slurs: He's 'virulently racist' MORE late Monday. “And the short way of saying that is, African American voters alone, if the same amount who voted in 2016 that voted in 2012, it would be President Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Kanye West 'not denying' his campaign seeks to damage Biden MORE right now.”

He added that not having an African American candidate who “can speak to that lived experience, that can inspire that populace could end up being a disaster for us.”

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“So, whoever it is, diversity is critically important, and a perception of fairness,” Booker said.

Booker also pointed to his Senate colleague, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Whitmer met with Biden days before VP announcement: report Maxine Waters says Biden 'can't go home without a Black woman being VP' MORE (D-Calif.) who ended her own Democratic presidential bid in December over a lack of financial resources. 

“I remember when Kamala Harris dropped out, women in my life were telling me how much they felt offended that someone with such a record that she had couldn't make it to Iowa because at the end of the day, she ran out of money,” Booker said. “So, this is something we have to understand, that we have to inspire record black and brown turnouts.”

The New Jersey Democrat said he will do whatever he can to support the eventual nominee, but will turn his own campaign efforts toward running for reelection in the Senate.

“I’m going to be doing everything I can for people all over this country, because I will run myself ragged because we have to get everyone out,” Booker said. “This is not about those 60 million Americans that voted for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE. This is about the tens of millions of Americans who didn't vote at all who would be with us if we could just inspire them to the polls.”

Booker’s decision to end his presidential campaign means that there is only one African American left in the race, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Top Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Andrew Yang endorses Biden in 2020 race MORE, who is considered a long shot for the Democratic nomination.

Andrew YangAndrew YangProgressive candidate Bush talks about her upset primary win over Rep. Clay Is this the end of the 'college experience'? Biden campaign to take over 'Supernatural' star's Instagram for interview MORE, a tech businessman running for the Democratic nomination, was the only candidate of color to appear onstage during December’s debate but has not qualified for Tuesday’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa, which features a lineup of white candidates.